(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Hardcore Gamer Magazine Volume 4 Issue 2"

new panes • old games • console games • pc games • arcade games • portable games • game stuff 




»/ft/^ 




II 




hardcoregamer.com 



wiiiiattWM 




BffifflBflO,! 



feJtt. 




PF 1 




^ 


CD 


- ^ 


^ ^^^H 
O^^— 


— CO 

_ > 


O^^— 




o 


— c 


o^^— 
o^^™ 


_ < 


o^^™ 






^^" o 
^^5 co 




rz 



J ■ /' 


4 




HP! 


.™ * — 


TV! 



DBZ: BURST LIMIT. OVER SOOfl!? EXCLUSIVE DISGAEA 3 STUFF! 



I 



IS. LIKE A GOLF ONE! 








FORCED IN THE DEfTHS OF HADES. 
SO yes, it's A LIMITED EDITION. 



THE DEEf RPD fSf® SYSTEN[. 

AVAILABLE ONLY IN THE 

CrOD OF WAR® ENTERTAINMENT fACK* 

Includes the exclusive deep red 

PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system, the 

God of War®: Chains of Olympus game, 

Superbad UMD? and a PLAYSTATION® 

Network voucher for Syphon Filter®: 

Combat Ops.* Available June 3rd. 





l * ■ 




1 




t^^i 




v 


r* 


W— 


• 







-M 



GOD 



PlayStation Portable 




_ 



In his Final Battle 



- 



* 



v 






wm 







n " ?^j 



* 



i 




MATURE 



fft 



Blood 

Crude Humor 
Strong Language 
Suggestive Themes 
Violence 



ESRB CONTENT RATING www.esrb.org 



Online Interactions Not Rated by the ESRB 




r 



Ml 



m 



• >i 




Available 



6.12.08 



■ 



ro Must Stand Al one 



/ 



MEtAZGEARSOZD/i 



GUNS OF THE PATRIOTS 



TACTICAL ESPIONAGE ACTION 



COMING EXCLUSIVELY ON THE PLAYSTATION®3 
computer entertainment system 



\m 



KONAMI 

www.konami.com 



LID" and "GUNS OFTHE PA1 



mm b Mb h^ bj ib 



* 



I 



>^ 






Danny Cowan 
David Brothers 
laian Ross 
J ames Cunningham 
Karin Renoux 
Thomas Shin 
J eb Haught 
Steve Hannley 



David Silviera 
J ulie Miyamoto 



Publisher 
Tim Lindquist 
Editor in Chief 
Greg Off 

greg@hardcoregamer.com 

Editorial Manager 
Steve Hannley 
Editors 

Anthony Mertz 
Thomas Wilde 
Geson Hatchett 
J ason Venter 
J enemy Peeples 
Steven Kent 
Elizabeth Ellis 
Abbie Heppe 
Hobbit 

Thomas Wilde 
Artists 

Terry Wolfinger 
Amadeo Garcia III 
Production Director 
Brady Hartel 
Production Artists 
J ohn McKechnie 
Casey Yates 

Elizabeth Ellis 
Asset Manager 
Adam Beck 

Burr Hilsabeck 

415-412-5685 

burr@hardcoregamer.com 

Games Daishi 
Martin Gilbert 
Customer Service 
425-868-2216 



Hardcore Gamer® Magazine is published quarterly by DoubleJ ump® 
Publishing, Inc. at 21407 NE Union Hill Rd, Redmond, WA 98053. 

Periodicals postage paid at Redmond WA and at additional mailing offices. 
USPS NO. 024063. ISSN 19362110 POSTMASTER: send address changes to 
Hardcore Gamer Magazine, PO Box 146, Redmond, WA 98073. "Hardcore 
Gamer" and "DoubleJ ump" are trademarks or registered trademarks of 
DoubleJ ump Publishing Incorporated. All rights reserved. No part of this 
magazine may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, 
electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any 
information storage or retrieval system without written permission from 
DoubleJ ump Publishing. DoubleJ ump Books is a division of DoubleJ ump 
Publishing, Inc. 

DoubleJ ump Publishing and the authors have made every effort to ensure 
that the information contained in this magazine is accurate. However, the 
publisher makes no warranty, either expressed or implied, as to the accuracy, 
effectiveness, or completeness of the material in this magazine; nor does the 
publisher assume liability for damages, either incidental or consequential, 
that may result from using the information in this magazine. Questions 
regarding operation of the game software and hardware should be directed 
to the support numbers provided by the game and device manufacturers in 
their documentation. 
Printed in the United States of America 



J 1 Ti 1 


TJ 


2] 


ji 




H 










DJ Pubba Tim Lindquist 

For some reason the Seattle area seems to be a great 
place to pick up cheap retro computer and game systems. 
I've been scoring old equipment like crazy lately. J ust this 
month I got an Apple llgs, an Amiga CD32, a Tandy CoCo3, 
and an Atari 540ST (all with games and peripherals). I 
have also gotten some especially great deals on high-end 
commercial, industrial and medical monitors that look 
simply amazing connected to these old systems. 

Now Playing: GTA IV (PS3), Akumajo Dracula (X68000), 
Flicky (SG-1000), Super Putty (CD32) 




WandererThomas Wilde 

It's funny. I used to be pretty vocal about how much 
I hate WWII games now and how sick I am of the 
subgenre. Apparently the way to make killing Nazis fresh 
and new again is to let me do it as a werewolf. 



Now Playing: Operation Darkness, Ikaruga (XBLA) 



Racewing Geson Hatchett 

I didn't do anything for this issue, because I've been busy 
wreaking my special brand of havoc on HGM Online, and 
working on the 2007 Fanservice Awards! Thus, I don't have 
much to say this month, except: if you didn't buy Sega 
Superstars Tennis, then you are Part Of The Problem™. 



Now Playing: Sega Superstars Tennis (X360), 
Mar/'o Kart Wii 





Hrtoshura laian Ross 

I think that not only is GT5 Prologue a fantastic game 
to play, it might even better when it's not being played 
I'd feel no shame in hosting a dinner party, pop in GT5, 
and set the demos to only show cars in various bits of 
exotic scenery. When someone walks by the TV, there's 
a good chance they'll stop and oggle for a while. It is 
just that cool. 



Now Playing: GT5 Prologue, Disgaea 3 




mSKF^L. 



Is&i 







Sanclius Darmy Cowan 

Mini-reviews! Yakuza (PS2): Haven't removed the 
shrinkwrap yet. Box gets a 3/5. Rune Factory (DS): 
Gameplay is amazing. Characters and story will make 
you feel embarrassed and sad. 4.5/5. Persona 3 FES 
(PS2): By all means, I should hate this. Why don't I? 
5/5. SNK Arcade CI assies Vol. 1 (PS2): Inexcusable, 
recall-worthy garbage. I've never before seen a retro 
compilation freeze mid-gameplay to load individual 
frames of animation. 1.5/5. Mystery Dungeon (DS): Oh 
god. Oh yeah. Oh, ohhh...ohhhhhh yeah. 8.5/5. 
Buying Soon: Two Worlds, Castle of Shikigami 3 



If 




Roger Danish Greg Off 

I've been neck deep in GTA IV for the last three weeks 
and pretty much loving every minute of my time with 
misunderstood thug Niko Bellic. However, when Sony's 
Little Big Planet shows, I'll be ready for a reverse injection 
lof ultra-cuteness. In other news, I'm becoming more and 
"more jealous of DJ Pubba's massive retro collection. Ask 
him to show you his pics! 

Currently Playing: GTA IV, Wii Fit, Shadow of the 
Colossus (again!) 



4thletter David Brothers 

I've been copping at least two new albums a week. It's 
been a while since I was really into music, but this summer 
is looking pretty hot. Nas, Weezy F., Royce, J uelz, and who 
knows who else is dropping? I could use some new Scarface, 



WbKeJferry Wolfinger 

So life is not too bad at the moment. J ust saw Ironman 
when it opened; The suit and Robert Downey J r. were 
both awesome! And at long last Grand Theft Auto 4 has 
finally come out. Ehn... who needs sleep? 



Currently playing Grand Theft Auto 4 on my XBox 360 



Now Playing: Call of Duty 4 



I didn't write anything this month, but my sinister hand 
lurks behind every page. 



Now Playing: Operation Darkness (360), Mystery 
Dungeon: Shir en the Wanderer (DS) 





J amesj ames Cunningham 

I have finally joined the HD age and am very, very happy. 
I now own a grand total of one BluRay disc, due to the 
f format being horribly overpriced, and while I love how 
clean and glorious Ratatouille looks I can't be bothered 
with $30 movies. I can only hope that BluRay's declining 
sales get the message to the right people that the format 
isn't worth the expense. Gaming, on the other hand, is 
always worth it. 
Now Playing: GTA IV (360), Boom Blox Echochrome 



HonestGamerJ ason Venter 

The problem with playing games constantly is that you 
don't often have time for much else, but that hasn't 
stopped me from working on some fantasy and science 
fiction writing, or from reading through most of Agatha 
Christie's novels these past few weeks in my spare time. 
It's all about priorities! 

Now Playing: The Dog Island (Wii), Emergency Mayhem 
(Wii), R-Type Command 




Arlieth Thomas Shin 

Sleeeeeeep. Despite what anybody tells you, there is no 
drug more addictive than sleep. I've been on a Twelve-Step 
program for Sleep Addiction these past few weeks- I might 
be on to something! 



Now Playing: Mabinogi (PC), Persona 3: FES (PS2), 
foldit.com (PC) 





" 



Ashira Brady Hartel 

Practical Intelligence Quotient, huh? 



Now Playing: Metal Gear Online, Smash Bros. Brawl 






Dack Steve Hannley 

So, I was at an itiop the other day and like many 
patrons know, they serve only fine Coke products. 
Well, that day I felt like having a Pepsi, so I jokingly 
asked the waiter for a glass of it. To my disbelief, the 
man drove to a Circle K, bought me a 2 liter of Pepsi, 
brought it back, and poured it into a glass. Now, that is 
customer service. 

Now Playing: GTAIV (X360), Haze 



J etemyj enemy Peeples 

In order to pass the time until GTA IV hit, I decided to snag 
some original Xbox classics. To my surprise, they ended up 
not only do that, but proved to be so addicting that I'm 
presently enjoying them more than GTA IV. 



Now Playing: Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath, Breakdown, 
WWE Day of Reckoning 2, Fire Pro Wrestling Returns, 
New Super Mario Bros. 





Kitty Karin Renoux 

I went to a Renaissance Fair recently. They claimed 
to have authentic costuming, but they lied. No one 
had blue hair or an oversize sword! Where's the 
historical accuracy? 



ES 1 3 




WWW.H A I LTOTH ECU! M P. C O TVI 
W W W.G R RN EWS.COM 



r 




L . - H 




M & ^^^^^^^^^^T "^^M 


1. HAAI^CHIfflPJ 




1= k r 




>♦ 
c 


14 


i^%* 


1? 1 


UJ%: 


i EEt! 






fttv Liflfta*! 



XB0X36C 



to 






» J ' * ' 



—1 D 



CA~£> 










Heaven lE s 



US *^1 ftsnt 



s 



sunttgW h«s u- - sl haunnnw - nt us to »«-- nts us w »- f a 




n/fflSTTRf IVElALffi^^D^^GF. 



Iifci:ia^sfe3 



i 



GUNSO 



r* r 



I." 







3w\i% 







ESH 



r-^> 




gn^ iSiVii g^ l X cJc^ l Jid 



ib^i«:^ki^^ 



r/E^<E^SQD40JSECFT}€Wma5 m/mSTCRir H 




MBUNG 



UAt+ 110% 
FPS 24 
Double 






^l^^ 1 



^GHWeiON 



technotogy 



of war and honor, 
the stores themseh 



replaced the old. 



Old Snakes Solid Eye has misled 

) that MGS4's 

ig doss, Solid Snake's 
father and the monocular hero of 
MGS3 and MPO. While the conclusion 
doesn't bear up to the facts — the hero 
is Solid Snake, after all— it leads to an 
interesting point of comparison. 

As the cloned original, Big Boss's 
character fuses the defining qualities of 
his three sons: Liquid Snake, the leader 
of mercenaries; Solidus Snake, the 
freedom fighter; and Solid Snake, the 
field operative. The Solid Eye likewise 
combines three items from previous MGS 
titles in one swoop: infrared googles, 
nightvision goggles, and binoculars. 

The Solid Eye's Scope function replaces 
the binoculars from earlier titles, and 
its Scan function gives a technological 
justification for some of MGS4's video 
game conceits. When players surveyed 
3D environments in previous games, 
items stood out in contrasting colors, 
and little text pointers identified each 
usable object. MGS4 only makes this 
information available when Old Snake 
has the Solid Eye equipped on Scan 
mode. Otherwise, much of the area 
stays hidden in plain view. 

Beyond giving a sci-fi justification for 
MGS4's medium conceits, the Solid 
Eye's Scan function introduces the 
possibility of new challenges. Players 
can run through an area without the 
Solid Eye — trusting what they see on 
the screen without Old Snake's help 
from inside the game — and this makes 
a variety of play experiences possible. 
The Solid Eye's ENV mode clarifies 
your immediate surroundings, much like 
the nightvision goggles, giving Snake 
limited visibility within otherwise dark 
places. Both Snake and other characters 
stand out as white silhouettes, much as 
anyone onscreen stood out against the 
environment when viewed through IR 
Goggles in previous games. 

There's a catch, though: Snake can't 
see anyone's face in ENV mode. This 
wasn't a problem with the IR Goggles 
since nearly everyone was an enemy 
in previous games, but things aren't 
that simple in MGS4. That white blob 



ECO/fftSTCKf |VBAL(E\RSaJD4:GU\BCFTl-EF^miaS 



charging at you across the field strip 
might be your enemy in a | 
skirmish, or he might be a scout Trom 
your side returning from behind enemy 
lines. Gun the wrong man down, and 
your whole platoon could turn on you. 



I carried these thoughts with me while 
nightwalking to my hostel. I could see 
evidence of an older Japanese identity 
beneath the surface trappings of a post- 
Occupation Japan, yet the capitalism 
enforced upon Japan following World 
War II has actually become part of 
its urban identity. Bookstores and 
convenience stores alike overflow with 
manga celebrating a mythic culture 



lile the fact of 
arque that the 



/varrior culture of samurai and c 



Jty of consumers. 



you can see the videoqame 



That struck me as a good way to a^nmHatP 
what MGS4 does in the Solid , 
game gathers up elements from previous 
MGS titles, mashes them together into 
a new thing, an 
understand Old Snake's world. 




GEEKED AT BIRTH. ] 





AZ:0.10 PWR: 110% 



IM i:877 



AL ART AND DESIGN 



GAME PROGRAMMING 

NETWORK ENGINEERING 



FTWARE ENGINEERS 




UAT 



You can talk the talk. Can you walk the walk? Here's a chance to prove it. Please geek responsibly, www.uat.edu > 877.UAT.GEEK 

877.828.4335 





i OOf***^ C *oR ^EtV^* "^frSTrtE* 






system 



il 



/warfare* 



trtindK 8 ^ 



tori******** 



To an American whose cultural rhetoric 
celebrates rugged individualism and 
revolutionary upsets of power, Japanese 
culture seems to revolve obsessively around 
organization. This obsession goes beyond the 
nuances of deference within a community. It 
emphasizes that some people stand within a 
social frame while others do not, and belonging 
to any social order in Japan seems preferable to 
belonging to none. 

Thus we have the word gaijin, popularly 
mistranslated as "foreigner." It connotes 
something broader than just nationality; it's a 
general term for "outsider." Gaijin gives a group 
name to whoever doesn't belong. 

MGS games have typically made their 
protagonists archetypal gaijin, and not just 
because they put one agent against an army 
of hostiles. Big Boss, Solid Snake, and Raiden 
have all needed to arm themselves OSP (short 
for "On-Site Procurement"). MGS and MGS2 
complicated the matter by limiting the heroes 
to whatever guns aren't already assigned to 
the mercenaries prowling each stage. Owned 
guns would lock if used by someone without a 
specific nanomachine signature, forcing Snake 
and Raiden to forage for unassigned gear. 

There's nothing inherently new, then, in MGS4's 
mantra, "ID-tagged soldiers carry ID-tagged 
weapons, use ID-tagged gear." What is new is 
how MGS4 makes ID-tagging more central to 
Old Snake's success than ever before. 

Enter Drebin, MGS4's arms dealer brilliantly 
voiced by Khary Payton. (No relation to MGS4's 
Assistant Producer, Ryan Payton.) Old Snake 
can collect the weapons dropped by each 
enemy and trade them for Drebin Points (DP), 
a kind of credit system through which he can 
upgrade weapons, restock ammo, and un- 
assign any ID-tagged weapons gathered from 



Drebin's role in MGS4 attaches more strings to 
the classic MGS dilemma of whether to sneak 
or fight. Unnecessary battles in previous MGS 
gamesonly had two consequences: they made the 
mission more difficult and affected the end-game 
rank. Through DP, however, MGS4 introduces a 
reward system for unnecessary combat. Get into 
fights; harvest weapons; get paid. MGS4 lets us 
experience the allure of mercenary fighting by 
reimbursing us for collected arms (which Drebin 
will redistribute). Player decisions to sneak, stun, 
or kill can actually strengthen the game's virtual 
war economy. 



In one sense, the DPs work against the 
organization of warfare that forms part of 
MGS4's central theme. Each ID-tagged 
soldier is literally a miniature war machine: 
nanomachines run through his body, coordinate 
his actions within his platoon, and make his 
weapons nearly as attached to his blood as 
his flesh. The guns themselves unveil the 
perversion of war that MGS4 explores through 
PMCs, all of which regulate the outcomes of 
specific conflicts on a bureaucratic level of 
organization. Through the DP system, then, 
Old Snake disassembles the war machine 
on the individual and bureaucratic levels. By 
collecting guns from living soldiers, he cleaves 
them from the guns attached to their blood via 
nanomachines. Collecting armsfrom dead PMC 
grunts, of course, "dismantles" the squadrons 
in a much darker, more literal sense. 

However, the DPs aren't a clear-cut good. 
According to the laws of the war economy, 
Drebin's prices increase during peacetime and 
decrease during war. It's simple supply-and- 
demand capitalism. Snake will need more DP 
to purchase weapons upgrades if he collects 
weapons peacefully, and he'll get better deals if 
he escalates conflicts already in progress. The 
DP system can lubricate the gears of the war 



MGS4 marks the direction in which the MGS 
series has evolved its particular style of stealth 
gameplay. MGS and MGS2 more or less required 
the player to sneak through patrolled areas; 
if he got locked into combat, the best way out 
was to flee and hide. MGS3 relaxed strictures 
on the player, though it tempered the sandbox 
elements of its gameplay by giving the player a 
clear direction to move forward. Whether your 
preferred MO was stealth or outright combat, 
you were always knew where Snake should run 
in case combat got too hot. 

MGS4 blurs even this distinction. The player will 
no longer find himself simply asking, "How can 
I get from Point A to Point B?" The deeper he 
wades into gunplay, the more the atmosphere 
of virtual warfare can muddy the question of 
what he's trying to accomplish. Part of MGS4's 
genius lies in its tendency to suck the player into 
the war economy through DPs, to challenge the 
player's ability to think outside the moment's 
conflict, and to remember that Old Snake is 
there to end this mess rather than profit from it. 



MG5^eWJNED^ir(E*R SCUD4-: QJSB Qm-FBTOOS 



HWCCPEGWmiW\Q^NEVQJJVE4 ISSLE2 BLACK WITH A VB\ffi\l\CE 



|VEIALCB\RSaJD4:GLJ\5CFTl-EF^miC5r5 CO/fftSTCKf E 








**°"*»ti 



~ ~~ EaicS tocam 



■^ i Jv^jH 




^^enihe 



*'4 



m ^ c ^*c 9 ^ b0 , 



*save 



y^now 



MGS4's combat has been by far the game's 
most publicized aspect, but those who prefer 
the trademark stealth tactics will find that 
Kojima Productions hasn't let them down. 
Snake might be able to break apart a PMC 
platoon while siding with an insurgent militia, 
but the PMCs form a pretty stiff opposition if 
engaged solo. The game often takes MGS3's 
theme of outdoor stealth and camouflage, 
crushes it into urban environments, and offers 
a kind of gameplay that requires a whole new 
range of tactics to sneak and survive. 

MGS4 requires the player to investigate and 
explore more than the previous games had. 
The best way around a given blockade might 
not be the most obvious. Stalking through an 
area once usually won't reveal all there is 
to find, though subsequent surveys should 
ijiuviue enough information about the area 
to suggest a workable strategy. Scouting the 
area a third time might reveal an innocuous 
passage over obstacles rather than through 
or around them. 

Still, MGS4 resists turning formulaic. The 
PMCs react so variously that no strategy works 
universally. MGS4 will rarely lead you into 



comfortable habits — a criticism that the series' 
gameplay has garnered over time. Maps in 
earlier MGS titles might be solvable in more 
than one way, but getting through each map 
can turn into rote work once a player figures 
a consistently successful strategy. MGS4's 
general resistance to routine recalls Kojima's 
2005 announcement of his vision for the 
game: "No Place to Hide." It's not that you 
won't be hiding in MGS4 — trust me, you 
will — but you won't hide assured that the 
battlefield will follow predictable patterns. 

Outside the game, these mental habits 
proved useful as I headed back to my 
salaryman's hostel. What alleys could 
get me past that gaggle of women 
offering foreigners "free massages" two 
blocks away? Where could I linger to 
ditch the strip bar solicitors? MGS4 
stayed with me as the retailers of 
Roppongi's nightlife offered their 
vision: "No Place to Sleep." 




DOES HAVING MILLIONS WATCH 
EVERY MOVE MAKE YOU AN ATHLETE? 



it 



The incredible multi-threaded Intel® Core™ 2 Extreme quad-core processor. 
A NEW KIND OF GEAR FOR A NEW KIND OF ATHLETE. INTEL.COM/G0/GAMING 



intei) 

Corei"2. 

Extreme^ 



E CO/tRSTCKf |VElAL(S^RSCUD4:GLJ\5CFTl-EF^miaS 



—1 D 



fta. 



' .^o^nt}V& > : H 








H! 



^^ttoom 



...and there's no place you can't make into 
home. We've retained the nomadic instincts 
that our ancestors forged when the word 
"mastodon" had the same relevance that the 
word "WiFi" does now. Traveling with one 
change of clothes doesn't exactly equal Solid 
Snake's brand of nomadism, but you still have 
the feelinq that you're a fuqitive somehow. 



MGS4 even connected on this experience. 
It shows Solid Snake at home, with his 
guard down (literally). The briefing that 
follows the Middle East session reveals a 
side of Solid Snake only hinted at before: 
his domestic face. 

The lateness of this development shouldn't 
surprise anyone. The conventions that 
Kojima borrowed from Hollywood action 
flicks tend not to show John Rambo, say, 
washing wine glasses, the original MGS 
begins with Snake's arrest from retirement, 
and it ends with a vow to settle down with 
Meryl. MGS2 opens with Snake leaving 
Otacon at Philanthropy's home base in NYC, 
and it ends as Snake leaves Raiden to find 
Olga's child. 

MGS4 concludes the Middle East section by 
giving Snake's role as a homemaker overdue 
attention. Snake and Otacon interact as the 




i« iv » ■• 



)ouple, and we get a glimps 



has destroyed countless nuclear weapons 
solo. (Is it any surprise that a legendary 
warrior renowned for covert disruption ops 
has a passive-aggressive streak?) Watching 
the two hash common ground out of their 
disagreements felt like looking into the next 
room rather than into virtual space. 

MGS4 has more narrative meat than the 
series' usual fare of conspiracy theories. It 
shows who Snake is the other 20% of the 
time. Otacon's question from MGS — "Can 
love bloom on the battlefield?" — might not 
cover the full range of problems that issue 
forth. A better question (one asked by tens 
of thousands of Americans today) might 
have been, "How do you live with someone 




B (XraSTWLlVElAL'ffiXRS^^ 





tlcrsnipEP 



Visit us @ Extreme-.. 

REAL Gamers NEED Extreme-Mods! 



M^,"'«^n,„,:-'^-,.. 



—I & 






'oonTptete 



1 <*"****! fea^ 



I loaded one of my favorite save points before bidding MGS4 farewell. 
Snake and the Rat Patrol were fighting Haven Troopers, the strange frog- 
women reminiscent of the Arsenal Tengu from MGS2's penultimate battle. 
Beyond the Rat Patrol's Al's seamless coordination with Snake, it was one 
of the best places to overload Snake's Psyche and Stress Gauges to get a 
get a Combat High.. 

■ by revealing Snake's mental wear-am 
tear through his combat performance. After enough deterioration, Snake's 
stress explodes into Combat High mode. He reacts more quickly; injuries 
stagger him less; he aims more precisely. Going into a Combat High is 
like a taking a time machine back to a younger Solid Snake. 

i you. After a period 
of serious ass-kicking, the adrenaline thins from Snake's blood and 
leaves him sluggish. It's a good time to take cover and recharge 
Snake's nerves with a smoke, hoping (of course) that the Haven 



The trip left me exhausted as an overloaded old man. Two 
lus jet lag had drained my reserves. When 
i break from sleeping, I gained new appreciation 
for the pace that Ryan Pavton and his comrades 
maintain. Maybe Kojima 
nanomachines to com 
food and sleep i 

However they keep their bodies going, their hard work 
shows in the final product. MGS4 will be the PS3's Combat 
High. Let's hope that future games keep the hardware's 
adrenaline flowing. 








V 




^H 



* 1i\ 


% ■■ 


h imam 


* vr 


f^ 






■*3 




*^ 


- 


• 


J 






^ 


i '. * ] 


1 


L, 





y>/ 



,v 



w 




i 



\ 



<^» 



s 



2D CO/fftSTCKf |VElALCE\RSaiD4:GLJ\5CFTT-EB^miaS 





IVEALCENRSCUMOABa 1 ™ 21 



e= 





= 



sknew 
he man 

E- THE 

lyiTHE 

FROM. 

: OUR 

NALLY 

UGHr 



OSES i^^SSK* 



E{<33^siDMivEiM<s^^[i>4:a^^ 



SOLIDSNAKE 



He was born from a cloning experiment dubbed the Les Enfants Terribles Project, an effort 

to replicate the greatest soldier of the 20th century— Big Boss. Snake showed great promise 

early in his military career and soon enlisted in FOXHOUND, a US Army covert ops unit. 

Immediately afterward, the Outer Heaven Revolt broke out {MG1). Snake infiltrated Outer 

Heaven and learned that the warlord in charge was FOXHOUND'S own commander, Big Boss. 

After Snake destroyed Outer Heaven, he finally killed Big Boss during the Zanzibarland Riot 

(MG2). Snake retired afterward but returned to duty when his clone twin, Liquid Snake, hijacked 

the latest nuclear threat, Metal Gear REX (MGS1). After Snake defeated Liquid, he and Otacon 

founded an anti-Metal Gear activist group, Philanthropy. Through the organization, Snake was 

lured aboard a tanker with Metal Gear RAY. He was named an environmental terrorist when the 



tanker sank in the Hudson River. Snake survived 1 



organization behind 



everything-the Patriots. In MGS4, Solid Snake suffers from accelerated aging as a side-effect of 
the cloning process that gave him life. He returns to the battlefield as Old Snake. 

LIQUIDOCELOT 



appears as Liquid Snake's right hand man during tne snaaow ivioses mciaent [iviusi). uceiot lost 
an arm during the mission and later had Liquid's attached as a surrogate. Liquid, Solid Snake's twin 
brother, had wanted to rebuild Big Boss's dream of Outer Heaven, a mercenary state that would 
lead the world to perpetual war. A residue of Liquid Snake's consciousness apparently stayed inside 
the arm that Ocelot borrowed, and Liquid's personality gradually overwhelmed Ocelot's. For reasons 
unknown, Liquid Snake and Ocelot have fused into a single persona: Liquid-Ocelot. In MGS4, Liquid- 
Ocelot is the CEO of Outer Heaven, a PMC with the largest chain of paramilitary franchises in the 
world. He is Solid Snake's target. 

HAL"OTACON "EMMERICH 

"Otacon" is the nickname of Hal Emmerich, a genius engineer whose family has been 
tied to the development of nuclear weapons for generations. Armstech President 
Kenneth Baker hired him before the Shadow Moses Incident to build Metal Gear 
REX. Working under the belief that Rl~" 

Otacon inadvertently kept the Metal Gear threat alive. After MGS1, he and 
Snake formed the anti-Metal Gear group Philanthropy. In MGS4, he reprises 
his role as Solid Snake's close friend and field intelligence support. 

ROYCAMPBELL 

After his Green Beret unit failed to infiltrate San Hieronymo Peninsula 

in 1 972, Roy Campbell befriended his fellow prisoner Big Boss during 

their joint jailbreak. His womanizing tendencies have left scars on 

his past, including his siring a daughter with his brother's wife. When 

Big Boss disappeared after the Outer Heaven Revolt, Campbell took 

command of FOXHOUND and served as Snake's Commanding Officer 

during the Zanzibarland Riot. Campbell returned as Snake's primary 

support staff in MGS1, and a facsimile of Roy Campbell was used to 

deceive Raiden during MGS2. Campbell appears in MGS4 to personally 

request that Snake kill Liquid-Ocelot. 



MERYLSILVERBURGH 

An avid fan of Solid Snake's legendary exploits, Meryl is the daughter whom 
Roy Campbell sired with his brother's wife. Meryl and Snake grew close 
after their shared experiences on Shadow Moses Island, but their relationship 

did not last. Meryl appears in MGS4 as the leader of the Rat Patrol, the latest 

reorganization of FOXHOUND. 

RAIDEN 

Born with the name Jack, Raiden's parents were killed by Solidus Snake, the third and last 

clone of Big Boss. Solidus forced young Jack into war as a child soldier, and Jack's lethality 

with blades earned him the moniker "Jack the Ripper." He was later brainwashed by the Patriots 

through VR training to identify himself as a virtual Solid Snake. During MGS2, the Patriots used 

Raiden as a guinea pig for their plan for societal control. Afterwards, Raiden vowed to leave war 

behind and settle down with his fiancee and their unborn child. His appearance in MGS4 as a 

cyborg ninja suggests that these plans did not play out as desired. His experiences between the 

end of MGS2 and the start of MGS4 remain unknown. 



What* 



^•W^ato 



'ERJ 



^/EU^(S^^D4^\EGFj™ 




^b&eafeeiefej 




iH 


K.I.J 







«p 



A 



M fi *' 



40 



Pirate the pirates! 




Lift, stack, and at 



/ 





i 



% 



/•■ 



^ 




?,r 








Wm&amFtMowalmiiluBmWiMm 



/ 



:&2Hl ' 



id 



«omiiT2 Jmiusvtewmv 






Hi 







V 




SJ 




% i | te * a **B 




fP 


^Bboubteiumiv 

. BOOKS ^ 




tf 



May contain content 

inappropriate for children. 

Visit www.esrb.org for 

rating information. 



Punish enemies wit 



ggling puzzle blocks. Transform to unleash hidden powers. Customization for the ultimate strategist 



*Screenshot may not reflect final product. 




25 CD/fftSTCKf E^AGJsB\LLZIVEIALCE\RSQJM:QJ\5CFTI^BWia5 



H^RDCCFEGWmiW^GaiSEVaiJVE4 ISSLE2 BLACKWTHAVB^E^CE 



HWG3B3WmiW\G^I\EVCUJVE4 ISSLE2 BLACKWTHAVBSCEWI 



|VBALCE\RSaJD4:GLJ\5CFTl-EB^miaS CD/fftSTCKf 27 







r i^HI 





FaanuuBiiraiTTiiiCTiiEiJH: 



a 



m? 







28 (TVfftSTTFY DWDSBAU^h^\LCB\RSmD4CLrBeE^^»TOaS 



-Mii,,ii^::\^^!!^ia^ 



h^EMIC^RSffUB4:nj\BCFThE»TOaS <TVB*STrR/ 29 



L_ 



!■■■■■■■. Hit" I ■ 



& ' 



«*.i_j 



W^ v 



DEATHMATCH (DM) 

Kill or be killed. This mode is Metal Gear 
Online's moshpit and the breeding ground for 
headshot queens. 

M/h~*>~ m«.,, : aii players share a preset numbe 

„. ...,.,.. . ..w match will end before the timer if 
these all run out. 



TEAMDEATH MATCH (TDM) 

Consider this a thinking man's moshpit where 
tactical coordination and individual skills 
converge. Work with your team to take the other 
team down. 

What's New: Expanded levels and eight-man 
teams make this the co-op experience that the 
original MGO never quite realized. 



CAPTUREMISSION (CAP) 

Think of Capture games as goal-oriented 
TDM. You and your team need to grab th 



KgHaHMgi 



to your team s goal and hold them until the timer 
counts down. 

What's New: In MGO, each team deposited the 
frog at its goal and then scattered to secure the 
area. MPO+ changed the formula by requiring 
one player to keep the frog in his character 
inventory while staying inside his team's goal 
area. MGO(3 combines both approaches. One 






player needs to play quarterback and hold the 
frog inside his team's goal area, while the larger 
number of players per team allows for each 
team to secure the area around the quarterback. 

The duck previously had its own game mode in 
the original MGO: Rescue Missions, in which 
one team would try to liberate the duck from the 
other team's grasp. In MGOfS, the duck and the 
frog must share the field, thereby putting two 
footballs into play. 



Both critters cor 
if held within the 



Dal area at the same time. 



MGO(3 limits each player to one critter apiece, 
requiring two soldiers to maintain a steady 
presence in the goal. If a player brings one of 
the critters into his goal during the other team's 
countdown, he'll have to wait for his teammates 
to interrupt their countdown before his will start. 
First come, first serve. 



BASEMISSION (BASE) 

This is MGOjS's addition to the lineage's 
gameplay menu. Secure the map by colonizir 
five bases within the level. Stand within a bas 
borders to transfer control of it to your team. 
Speed up the transfer time by co-occupying il 
with your teammates. 



uoionized oases serv 



/vn points for the 



team in control, giving them more access to the 
map. Bases located in the center of the level are 
ideal tactical positions. 

Victory comes in two ways. A team either 
colonizes all bases on the map before the timer 
ends, or the timer ends and victory cedes to the 
team holdinq the most bases. 






Q-Q 




o 

ooo 



O 
O 




Contrary To Popular Opinion, 



These Do Not Make You A Killer! 



- — M 


h 





Fight for your rights as a gamer and 
join the ECA today! 




WWW.THEECA.COM 



BO Cn/TCSTCRr' CRA03\EAlLZh^[^CB^RS5UB^Qir\BeFjreEB5mOS 



HWET£Q*mM4G»EVQlJ^E4 ISSLE2 BLACKWTHAVMBWE 







\ " 










i 



1 



■V> 



I i 


mil r3T 
B - K ; 






i 























32 m^STC«R^GMmm^-NeAL^^^ 



HWCCREGWmM^G^NEVQJJVE4 ISSLE2 BLACKWTHAVH^E^CE 



-n 



* 



sniper in each can easily dominate the playing field. However, the 
towers are far from impregnable. A good sniper can hit almost any spot 
on the map, but he can likewise be hit from any spot too. 

Take advantage of the catwalk surrounding the central hangar as well 
as strategic ground positions to bring them down. Also remember that 
they're walking on mesh metal catwalks themselves, leaving them 
vulnerable to fire from below. 

Use the full range of your mobility to navigate Groznyj Grad. An 
apparently impassable fence can be circumnavigated by hanging, and 
high walls can be mounted using the buddy system. 

The hangar is a haven for teams that find themselves outmatched in 
long-distance combat. Nooks and crannies in the Shagohod's platform 
are ideal for ambush assaults when the snipers get bored and descend. 

BLOODBATH (BB) 

~ " in: Mash all three of oldschool MGO's Killhouse maps together, 



Combat: This map favors close-quarters combat that demands more 
reflexes than foresight. The underground passages can create the 
illusion that you're running through a concrete straitjacket, and the 
aboveground catwalks expose you to enemy fire from at least two 



Successful teams typically post two soldiers with Assault Rifle 
skills on the catwalk while a platoon of six soldiers circulates the 
perimeter to pick off stragglers from the other team. 

Best Gameplay Modes: DM, CAP, and SNE. 

Points of Interest: The broken concrete blocks that 
litter the perimeter of BB are great shields to help 
your team advance from one corner of the level to 
the next. Use them when your team hits the road. 
Many players make the mistake of running along 
the extreme outer edges of the map. They're 






isually gunned down due to the comparative 
lack of cover. Teams that prefer to secure 
an area rather than scout will find that the 
central underground corridor makes an 
ideal nest. Soldiers tend to fall through 
ground level holes, almost always 
landing at one or the other end of 



Combat: MM lends itself well to a blend of close-quarters and long 
distance combat. The streets and alleys align at certain points to gi 
sniper bullets an easy expressway, while the urban environment's 
indoor settings provide ample opportunity for those who prefer to 
wrestle, stab, or shotgun their way to the end. 

Successful teams in MM typically split into sqi 
each group explores a section of the level, r - 

into long-distance stalemates near each teams o H aw y ua 3C , uui 

has enough secret passageways to let even the slowest mercenary : 



ough an otherwise tight front 



Best Gameplay Modes: 



Points of Interest: 

Keep your eyes peeled 



lie securing their 



center of combat, and a 
coordinated group of two 
or three players can use 
this route either to flank 
the enemy or catch them 
from behind. 

Watch for ladders 

scattered throughout 

the level as well as any 

climbable platforms like 

crates. Midtown Maelstrom offers a number of elevated points that 

are good for everything from ambushes to laying cover fire for ground 

units. 

The keyword for Midtown Maelstrom: EXPLORE. 



J0 


Y~~ r^^^^a il ^^^B |m-<. "*■ 




riBT- 1 ^^B 


j-f 


1 ii-- 



H^RDrrREGWmM^G\2NF VQ1JVE4 ISSLE2 BLACKWITHAVME^NCE 




X 





While Ragnarok Online has shifted to a pay-to-play 
model (along with an item shop that involves real 
money), it started out in the f ree-to-play category. 
Ragnarok Online is important, however, because it 
set the standard for games to follow. There is a great 
deal of games out there with a very similar format, 
even down to the same character creation system. 

The premise for Ragnarok Online is simple enough. 
It capitalizes on the world of a popular graphic novel, 
with two-dimensional sprites set against three- 
dimensional backgrounds. While the graphics are a 
little underwhelming, the cute sprites and fantastic 
art add character to an otherwise bland game world. 

While Ragnarok Online started as little more than 
a level treadmill, the open beta attracted both 
casual players and hardcore gamers. Ragnarok 
Online offered a free place to socialize for the 
gaming community, and its casual gameplay meant 
that players could log in and out with no time lost 
between sessions. The combat wasn't involved at 
all, meaning that players (in the beginning, at least) 
could go on auto-pilot while chatting away with 
friends. The ability to solo or group with players of 
any level meant that pickup groups were actually a 
viable style of play. 



Compare this sort of casual gaming to the giant 
of the time, Everquest. Depending on the time of 
day, and any given character's class or equipment, 
Everquest players could expect to spend a 
significant deal of downtime coordinating group 
efforts — planning raids, organizing groups, looking 
for a group, waiting for monsters to respawn, etc. 
Logging in or out at any given location would almost 
certainly end in a player being inconvenienced by 
character death, which, by the way, means a long, 
equipment-free trek to recover a body from a hostile 
area, along with an experience penalty. Often, this 
was a costly waste of character resources, not to 
mention valuable game time; remember, players are 
paying for each in-game minute! 

Meanwhile, Ragnarok Online characters could die 
whenever they felt like, and resurrect with virtually 
no penalty. Despite some loss of progression in 
a dungeon, groups were hardly inconvenienced 
by character death, even if the whole party was 
wiped out. This model of casual play became the 
standard for free-to-play games; they carry enough 
customization and mechanics to keep things 
interesting, but are accessible enough to pick up or 
drop at a moment's notice. 



We can all agree on the fact that Massively 
Multiplayer Online games are huge. A 
cursory examination of MMO databases lists a 
staggering assortment of titles, in excess of 200 
games. These games draw in millions of players 
every day, players that will sink hard-earned cash 
and long hours into virtual playgrounds. Some 
play to prove they're better than the rest, others 
grind away the hours looking for powerful game 
equipment, and even more play just to hang out 
with friends. It's obvious that this genre has a voice, 
and it is a very loud one. 

Online games run the gamut from shooters to role- 
playing, from racing to drilling; their prices are also 
as varied as their content. While the titans of the 
genre — like World of Warcraft—6ra\N in big crowds 
and big money, pay-to-play games are difficult to 
pull off successfully. Meanwhile, free-to-play games 
number in the hundreds, and seem to be doing well 
for themselves, despite smaller player bases and 
no guaranteed income. Free-to-play games often 
offer only a handful of servers, and the graphics 
engine is rarely anything to give even two-year-old 
PCs a workout. Many free-to-play online games 
are translated into English from a different home 
language, leading to often-hilarious (and sometimes 
incredibly frustrating) character dialogue. Free-to- 



play games are not usually as mechanically "deep" 
as pay-to-play titles; and, yet, players are sti 
flocking to them in droves. 

What makes free-to-play games so attractive? 
While a price tag of "nothing" certainly helps, 
perhaps the biggest draws are the sense of 
character that a title provides. Many are beautifully 
drawn and animated, and offer gameplay 
experiments that can't be found outside of the 
MMO giants. Would World of Warcraft have been 
successful if it was about Azeroth Golf? Would Final 
Fantasy XI enthrall fans if it were only Chocobo 
Racing? I highly suspect that they would flop out 
the door before stumbling and dying in the street. 

Free-to-play games generally have a few things 
in common. They have fantastic promotional and 
concept art, easy-to-learn gameplay, and a reward 
system mediated by paying extras. While you can 



generally unlock all the content in a given game 
by constant dedication, most free-to-play games 
offer the ability to get an edge by laying down some 
cash. The advantage is usually enough to tempt a 
purchase, without being too overpowering; which is 
a rather clever way to cover costs. 

The follow pages contain a collection of notable 
free-to-play online games, and why they are worth 
a look. 









Yes, Rappelz is another RPG — that should say 
something about the Massively Multiplayer genre — but 
it is a very pretty RPG. It's also a good example of the 
kind of experimentation free-to-play games exhibit. 

On the surface, Rappelz is very generic. It has the 
usual combination of race and class for the character 
creation system, and other such standard RPG 
elements. The most notable feature, however, is the 
Pet system. 

When I say "pets," I really mean "summoned creatures 
that will tear things up." Pets add a completely new 
dimension to combat, effectively turning any given 
character into a two-man team. Pets are widely 
regarded as the main source of damage dealing for 
many characters, and the emphasis on their utility is 
what makes Rappelz stand out from most other games. 

While some other MMORPGs have played around 
with classes that involve one or more summoned 
monsters, pets are not a game-making mechanic 



for most titles. While 

control of a summoned 

creature isn't a very 

new thing in and of itself 

(as the Shin Megami 

"Tense/ and Pokemon series can attest to), pets are a 

somewhat new gimmick for online games. This sort of 

experimentation, while not groundbreaking, is vital for 



renewing a genre that seems 
to fall prey to swords-and- 
sorcery stereotypes. 




B. * ^ 




Gunz is a strange mixture of first-person shooters and 
third-person sword combat. Players face off in a guns- 
and-swords death match, and use in-game currency 
to purchase better equipment. While adding melee 
components and a behind-the-shoulder camera to 
shooters has been done before, it isn't what makes 
Gunz special. 

Instead, Gunz takes advantage of a rather interesting 
set of physics. Gunz characters engage in a lot of 
tumbling, from simple diving shots and quick dashes, 
to double-jumping in mid-air and running up walls. 
Adding a vertical dimension to regular movement is 
enough to make a game somewhat (though mildly) 
"revolutionary" on its own, but the applications of 
these features is astounding. 

Gunz is, obviously, a rather Korean game. A localized 
version of the game had been released before 
the international version, giving Korean players a 
chance to discover and exploit system glitches. 
Naturally, these glitches were terribly imbalanced; 
players exploiting these glitches could travel faster 
than other characters, and were capable of using 
both melee and ranged weapons simultaneously; 



shotgun swords, if you will. The glitches required such 
technical skill to pull off, that eventually the exploits 
gained their own "style," and were accepted as a 
legitimate style of play. Korean Style, or "K-Style," was 
initially regarded unfavorably, but was intentionally left 
in the international version of the title. 

This strikes me as a very progressive move for the 
online genre. As you may recall, the early fighting 
games invented combination attacks on accident. 
The "combo" wasn't part of the intended play, 



and occurred mostly through glitches in the game 
mechanics. The level it added to conventional play, 
however, deepened the fighting genre as a whole, 
and allowed for more complex expert play. Arguably, 
this limits high-level play, which is regarded either 
as a godsend or as an inconvenient rules change, 
depending on what side of the glitch you stand. Still, 
"K-Style" has helped to change Gunz from a title 
of little consequence to a much discussed (and 
therefore regularly played) technical work. 



Dream of Mirror Online is a prime example of what a 
little different thinking can accomplish. All of the game 
art is in a cell-shaded style, which instantly provides 
a unique feel, especially when compared against 
either of the other traditional online styles — that either 
strive for the realistic, or are content with 2D sprites. 
Dream of Mirror Online uses this unique art style to 
stand out, and it's one of the reasons why the title is 
worth trying. The game world is beautifully presented, 



and it's hard not to marvel at a game that takes this 
approach on a PC platform. 

What Dream of Mirror Online aims for, however, is 
much more significant than a pretty game. Instead, 
it capitalizes on one of the key components of online 



games — the community. It uses a unique mechanic to 
adapt in-game relationships between players, in order 
to provide new gameplay options. 

Depending on the interactions between friends, 
characters can enter into bonds within the context 
of the game world, which actually provide in-game 
benefits in the form of special attacks. The three 
kinds of relationships are that of master and student, 
friends, and lovers. While these are gratifying from a 
community standpoint, the added offensive capability 
is a nice twist to suspend further the sense of 
disbelief that is inherent in any virtual world. 
There's just something special about using 
the bonds of friendship to kick ass. 

Oh, and did I mention that you can fly 
using nothing but your sword? That's a 
pretty sweet deal by itself! 




Last Chaos also seems to fall into the stereotypical 
MMORPG swords-and-sorcery fodder. For the most 
part, it stays true to the proven online formula. 
In fact, it really doesn't stand out in terms of 
graphical ability or content, though it is well- 
animated and offers much. 



that they can team up and slaughter monsters, 
find loot, etc. Most obviously, it facilitates character 
advancement, but what it also provides is a way to 
bridge the gap between players and help strengthen 
the sense of community. 

It's a terribly frustrating experience to try and join a 
group of friends on any given online game, only to be 
incapable of doing anything for three months while 
struggling to gain enough power to actually team up 
with said friends. The level disparity is often brutally 
enforced, either by monster threat (the likelihood 
of any given enemy attacking a specific character) 
scaled by level to eliminate weaker players first, or 
by vastly diminishing experience point returns for 



either (or both) levels of players — which leads to a 
sense of wasted effort. Penalizing a group for trying 
to cooperate seems counterintuitive to the goal of 
most online games (which is to provide a unique 
social experience). Certainly, it's also much easier to 
learn the game while under the protection of a more 
powerful player, which makes sense from a realistic 
standpoint, as less skilled artisans were always 
apprenticed to masters in the field. This sort of 
"initiation" of less powerful players is something that 
should be considered, especially if you want more 
people to play any given game. 



36 FWURE mEGWB! 








Within seconds of starting up Trickster, you should 
have doubts about why it's in this article. Almost 
everything, from initial character creation, to the job 
system, to even the tutorial island looks like 
a straight port from Ragnarok Online. 
Well, it might very well be, right down 
to the equipment and skills menus, 
but that's not why it's interesting. 

What's so great about Trickster? 
The drilling, of course! 

For whatever reason, the game lets 
you have a drilling implement, and dig 
to your heart's content. Drilling is sort of a mini- 
game that is detached from the rest of the online 
experience, although it's possible to enjoy drilling 
with your friends. It's a very satisfying mini-game 
component, and the humorous nature of a drilling 
with a cartoonish tool fits perfectly into the setting. 

To be perfectly honest, many of the online games take 
resource gathering for granted. Players are content to 




click skill buttons, watch a simple animation, and then 
wait for some kind of payoff. Often, creating an item 
goes no further than selecting the right ingredients 
and pressing the "combine" button. What they don't 
seem to consider, however, is that such an activity 
can be engaging in and of itself. 

While a bare, automated simplification of the system 
can help to relieve the monotony of making the same 
item one hundred times, a quick mini-game and 



slightly larger payouts would achieve the same effect. 
As long as we're staring at the screen watching our 
avatars do something, we might as well be engaged 
ourselves. While going overboard on mini-games can 
also be negative, either by having too many or making 
them too complex, there should always be room for 
more "game" in a title. 




Maple Story is unique in itself, but it illustrates how 
far a simple concept can go, given enough time 
and interest. Maple Story's gameplay consists of 
2D sprites on flat background, and some class- 
based, platform RPG action. The characters have 
short, squishy bodies and large heads, and fight 
a collection of similarly cartoon monsters. It's 
rather simplistic, and the free-to-play model is 
supported by a collection of cash items that 
updates regularly. 

While it is easily dismissible by most hardcore 
audiences (for a variety of reasons, ranging 
from the game being "too easy" to "too 
childish"), the casual market took to it like 
nothing else. In fact, Maple Story became so 



popular that parents began to grow concerned that 
their children were spending too much time on the 
game, and several nightly news reports covered the 
event with rather grim headlines. Any publicity is 
good publicity, however, as Maple Story boasts one 
of the largest in-game population of players. 



Apart from the game's content, Maple Story quickly 

proved that there was a sizeable market for casual 

titles. Despite lacking the support of a pay-to-play 

model, there's no arguing that Maple Story 

was an economic success. There's even a 

version of Maple Story headed to 

the Nintendo DS. Despite 

being a mostly-overlooked 

genre, free-to-play games 

are making a name for 

themselves. 





A long time ago, an online golf game came out 
of Korea. It featured quirky characters, colorful 
landscapes, and a very solid golf system, including 
a variety of wacky clubs and amazing trick shots. 
Everything from the choice of caddy to the clothes 
a character wore impacted game stats, making 
customization a key part of the experience. The 
golf simulation itself was surprisingly complex, and 
offered engaging levels of difficulty for even the 
skilled golf pros. 

That game was Pangya. Eventually, it gained enough 
popularity to be converted into a Wii title that saw 
international release. It is known in North America as 
Super Swing Golf. 

Pangya — the online version is called Albatross 75 for 
North America — is the prime example of the kind of 
success a free-to-play game can achieve. Albatross 
18 has nothing to do at all with the other MMO 
giants, as it doesn't have long quests, swords, or 
any significant amount of sorcery, except for the few 
witches on the cast, of course. 

Despite breaking away from any sort of MMO 
tradition, Albatross 18 is a remarkably well-crafted 
game; the golf system borders on high amounts of 
realism, with enough trick-shots and goofy items 
to add a fanciful charm. Even the medium difficulty 
holes are a challenge for the uninitiated, but Albatross 
18 provides plenty of ways to get ahead or facilitate 
better play; there are all sorts of possible wacky 



strategies built into the environment, and the game 
includes a somewhat exhaustive tutorial system — that 
even includes a reward for successful completion. 

The title almost oozes character. Each playable 
avatar has her own unique animations that are very 
entertaining to watch; score a hole-in-one with your 
favorite and you'll be treated to a rather spectacular 
victory animation — continue to take the lead in a 
match, and your character will show a confident 
spring in her step as she tees off. Conversely, if 
you hit the ball into a bunker, you can expect your 
character to be just as disappointed as you are. 

The animation is fantastic, the gameplay is solid, and 
the free-to-play system works without overbalancing 
the game. While it's possible to earn everything, 
spending a little cash can give a player access to 
better and brighter content — though not excessively 



powerful compared to earnable items. If anything, 
the paying content is more stylistic than competitive, 
so players that don't shell out cash hardly ever feel 
slighted. This terrific balance is what makes Albatross 
18 a fantastic title, and is the hallmark of a well-made 
online title. 

While there will always be a market for leveling 
up and crawling through dungeons, the casual 
online game is not something to be ignored. 
Experimentation can be very rewarding, to say 
nothing of the delight in variety. Massively Multiplayer 
need not always prefix RPG, and even if it does 
there's a lot of invention to be had for as simple an 
addition as summoned monsters or flying spears. 
While holding my breath for an Azeroth: The Drilling 
Mini-Game title will probably prove fatal, there's 
no reason not to imagine a brighter, more diverse 
future — even if we're not subscribing for it. 




38 FEATURE REGWB! 



SOSBSEiraSOEW! 



HWG3B3WmmG\ZI\EVaiJVE4 ISSLE2 BLACK\/\mHAVB\ffi\l\£E 



|RVTO3€G^I^Q^ ^QJJVE4 ISSLE2 BLACKWTHA' 



EKI^M^MEip) 




* * • 



In competitive gaming, players have turned to an arsenal of 
sources for improving every conceivable aspect of t heir game. 



From the classics of Sun Tsu and Musashi for strategy, to modern, 
user-produced sources such as YouTube and GameFAQs for 
game-specific tactics and techniques, dedicated players can easily 
put themselves on the right track. The only barriers left are the 
cost of equipment and physical advantage. The former is quickly 
becoming a moot point in console gaming, with developers like 
Microsoft and Sony constantly slashing prices and subsidizing the 
cost of the console down to a few hundred dollars, instead of the 
$1 ,000 or more that it probably cost to produce. That leaves us 
with physical advantage. 

Strength, height, and build (or legs, for that matter) are irrelevant 
when controlling a virtual character with a plastic controller. 
The physical attributes most important to a player are reaction 



time, coordination, and stamina — both mental and physical. By 
and large, caffeine and sugar are the primary sources we turn 
to today for these needs. However, they come at a high price. 
Jittery nerves, impatience, and sugar crashes are common, and 
their effects circulate throughout the entire body, instead of the 
brain, where they are most needed. Furthermore, caffeine takes a 
tremendous toll on the body's chemistry, with its diuretic properties 
causing you to run to the restroom every half hour. Since coffee 
and soda relied on caffeine and sugar alone, something better had 
to be made. 





DISCLAIMER: Arly is a writer, not a doctor. Consult your physician before taking any of these products, especially if you have a 
history of heart disease or stroke. If you take any medications, some of these substances can adversely react with drugs! 




i i i 




Aoxientil owtou e? 

P ImM pvHnftfi wi uwonfi 
■iil <«ff mk ptrttct oirt of nub 

?tt*tw to cilt tf JKKfrW 
■wVQflfef ifltantdilffjk 



I inii ■*.. . 



Aw**"** 



Energy Drinks 




r* x 



■>\w 




For the most part, the concentrations (and 
quality) of supplements in these drinks are 
almost not worth mentioning. While they 
may be helpful to gamers in some ways, 
they may prove useless or even detrimental 
in others. Red Bull, Monster, and Rockstar 
(and by the sheer economic might of 
Coca-Cola, Full Throttle) remain on the 
top of the mountain in this market. By 
and large, they share similar formulas of 
B-complex vitamins, taurine, caffeine, 
and ginseng, varying with some of the 
more esoteric ingredients such as 



inositol and ginkgo biloba. Sugar-free versions 
make carbs a non-issue for concerned gamers. 
The high amounts of caffeine still ensures 
frequent trips to the restroom, but at least the 
drinks resupply your body with the B-complex 
vitamins consumed by stress and excreted in 
excess by urine. Of the main three, I prefer 
Rockstar Punched due to its decent ginkgo 
biloba content, but the other stuff looks like 
gibberish to me. We'll take a look at the effects 
of these substances to figure out which ones 
actually matter. 




uift 






Apart from essential vitamins and fatty acids, substances beneficial to gamers can be classified into 
five types: Stimulants, Vasodilators, Neurotransmitters, Adaptogens and Antioxidants. The last one isn't 
immediately important for gaming performance, but it will prove useful for marathon gaming sessions, 
such as tournaments. 

Stimulants: Increases heart rate to raise blood pressure and, thus, blood flow. Caffeine is by far the 
most well-known stimulant. Many stimulants, caffeine included, also constrict blood vessels by the 
same mechanism, known as adenosine antagonism. Going overboard will cause the jitters, however, 
taking your fine motor control with it. 

Vasodilators: Relaxes the muscles surrounding blood vessels to lower blood pressure and improve 
blood flow. Theobromine (found in chocolate), vinpocetine, and gingko biloba are examples. 
WARNING:The use of vasodilators with caffeine may increase complications with stroke sufferers. 

Neurotransmitters: These are used by the body to carry signals through your nerves. 
Acetylcholine is used for voluntary contraction of muscles, while GABA relaxes muscles instead. 
Most neurotransmitter supplements are taken in the form of precursors, their raw materials. 

Adaptogens: Noted for having a normalizing, balancing effect on the body to reduce fatigue and 
counteract stress. Eleutherococcus and ginseng are used for this effect, but they will disrupt 
sleep if taken improperly. 

Antioxidants: Prevents cell damage and death from use of oxygen. Doubly important when 
oxygen use is increased with stimulants, as the brain uses 20% of the body's supply. Many 
vitamins (C and E) and herbs have this property. Glutathione is the primary antioxidant in the 
human body. 



For comparison, I'll list Rockstar, an energy drink, 
and Focus Factor, a mental performance supplement, 
alongside three 'gamer supplements' you can find out on 
the internet: FPSBrain, Game Suppli, and Mind FX. 




P0CKST*R 

iUNCHE? 



fc 



1 1 



■5fc.r 




w#»& 



16 



Rockstar (Punched) 

Manufacturer: Rockstar, Inc. 

Website: www.rockstar69.com 

Active ingredients: Taurine, 
Ginkgo Biloba, Caffeine, 
Guarana, Inositol, L-Carnitine, 
Panax Ginseng, Milk Thistle 

Vitamins: B3,B5,B6,B12 

It actually has a decent 
amount of Ginkgo Biloba, 
which is surprising. If you have 
no other choice but to buy an 
energy drink, Rockstars are 
probably the best for gaming. 
However, be prepared for the 
sugar crash, and don't drink it 
all at once, or you'll overdose 
and hit the 300mg mark on 
caffeine for sure (the guarana 
contributes towards the 
caffeine content). And don't 
forget to brush your teeth. 




: or Gamers, By Gamers : 




Focus Factor 

Manufacturer: Vital Basics, Inc. 

Website: www.focusfactor.com 

Active ingredients: Omega Fatty 
Acids (including DHA), L-Glutamine, 
Bacopa Monnieri, Inositol, L-Tyrosine, 
Boron Citrate, Phosphatidylserine, 
Choline, Bilberry Extract, Grape Seed 
Extract, Hyperzine-A, Vinpocetine, 
GABA, DMAE. 

Vitamins and Minerals: A,C,D,E,B1 , 
B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12, 
Calcium, Iron, Iodine, Magnesium, 
Zinc, Selenium, Copper, Manganese, 
Chromium, Molybdenum, Potassium. 



While it contains an almost complete 
cocktail of substances imaginable, 
there is absolutely no disclosure as to the amounts 
contained in each tablet. The calming effect of GABA 
is contrary to high-performance needs. Some of the 
ingredients like Bacopa, Huperzine-A and Vinpocetine 
seem pretty effective, though. If nothing else, this stuff 
can't hurt, but the Vinpocetine is the only vasodilator 
present and there are very few, if any, stimulants. If I were 
feeling stupid, I'd chug it down with a Rockstar. (I've done 
this.) It does seem to have a beneficial effect, but that 
might be from the tortuous requirement of swallowing four 
of these pills at a time. To make matters worse, they'll try 
to sell you a membership. 



4 






H' J ' 



H^RIIIPEGWmMAG^INEVQJJVE4 ISSLE1 BLACKWTHAVH^E^E 



hARTJIPEG!WmM^G^INEVQJJVE4 ISSLE2 BLACKWTlHAVB\ffl\l\CE 



FPS Brain 

Manufacturer: Tomarni, Germany 

Website: www.fpsbrain.com 

Active ingredients: L-Tyrosine, 
L-Glutamine, Choline 

Vitamins and Minerals: C,E, B1, 
B2. B3, B5, B6, B9, B7, B12, 
Selenium. 

This current formula is slightly 
different from the previous one, 
in that it contains no caffeine. 
Based on the ingredients, it 
doesn't seem like it would do 
much for enhancing my gamer 
skillz, and after taking one, my 
suspicions were confirmed. This 
is not worth twenty Euros. 



Game Suppli 

Manufacturer: CyberGadget, Japan 

Website: www.cybergadget.co.jp 

Full Ingredient List (Blueberry): 
Powdered sugar, blueberry 
extract, sorbitol, cane sugar, 
citric acid, stevia, milk. 

Full Ingredient List (DHA): 
Fish oil, safflower oil, gelatin, 
glycerin, Vitamins C and E. 

If you can actually read 
the label, you'll find that 
the DHA supplement is no 
different from the kind you 
could buy at a pharmacy. 
The blueberry supplement 
comes in tablet form and 
is really nothing more than 
blueberry candy with four 
different sweeteners. There's 
not even a cute little mascot 
to go with it. Go eat a blueberry 
muffin instead. 



**pi(Pn;Cap*ulM * 5W: 



Witfru 



Bsw&f-kvywz 



BLUE BERRY 



MlNDFX 




Mind FX 

Manufacturer: MindFX Science 

Website: www.mind-fx.com 

Active Ingredients (Energy): 
Cacao fruit extract, Guarana, 
Green Orange extract, 
Eleutherococcus, Rhodiola, 
caffeine (byproduct). 

Active Ingredients (Performance): 
Ginkgo Biloba, Taurine, 
Glutathione, Soy Phosphatides, 
Huperzine-A, Vinpocetine 

Now this one came as quite 

a shock. Mind FX was started 

in 2002 by Robert Krakoff, the 

founder of Razer, as a secret edge 

for his recreational games of tennis. It's somehow managed to 

escape the Internet's radar for the most part, despite features 

in Wired Magazine and other publications. The contents of the 

formulas are available on their website. It's mostly been in pill 

form this entire time, to mixed reactions (the stigma of pills being 

drugs is difficult to shake), but I got to sample the new powdered 

formula with some interesting results. 

It's recommended to take both formulas simultaneously, and the 
Performance formula is taken every four hours of competition 
while the Energy formula is taken every eight hours. I poured 
the innocent-looking powders into a glass of water and watched 
it turn radioactive before chugging it. Compared to the pill form, 
which is slower-acting, I felt a heady rush within minutes. While 
I felt more competent and quicker to react, I still didn't get to 
double-perfect my opponents during a Street Fighter III: 3rd 
Strike tournament. That component of 'the Zone' seems just as 
psychological as it does physical, though I definitely liked what I 
was feeling. 



What's inthis stuff? 



Conclusion 



I have not delved under the table and tested 
prescription medications (Adderall being the 
most prevalent these days). While there are no regulations 
in professional gaming against the use (or abuse) of 
these substances, becoming dependent on them is a sure 
way to shoot yourself in the foot when they do become 
regulated through drug tests. There's also no better way to 



improve your physical performance than by cardiovascular 
exercise, which will improve your stamina with far better 
results than any supplement by itself; that's why they're 
called supplements. If everything else is covered, the right 
supplements may give you just the edge you need to take 
home the championship. 




Chemical Components 

DHA (Omega-3) and other Omega Fatty Acids 

(n-3) Promotes the growth of brain cells. 

(n-6) Promotes cardiovascular health. 

(n-9) Found in olive oil, produced by the body. 

GABA (Gamma-Aminobutryic Acid) 

Primary neurotransmitter for relaxing muscles. 

Has calming effects but may affect memory. Not recommended 
during high performance events. 

Choline 

Precursor for Acetylcholine, the primary neurotransmitter used 
in the somatic nervous system for voluntary muscle control and 
reflexes. 

DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol) 

A precursor for acetylcholine. Improves attention and mood, 
but has side effects in larger doses and should only be used 
occasionally. 

L-Tyrosine 

Amino acid that reduces the effects of stress during high-pressure 
environments. No effect on mood under normal circumstances. A 
precursor for several neurotransmitters. 

Glutathione 

The most prevalent antioxidant in the human body. Improves 
muscle performance and recovery, but difficult to absorb if taken 
orally. 

L-Glutamine 

Amino acid mainly used by the body during injury and trauma. 

Alternative source of energy for the brain and can be converted to 
other substances like glucose. 

Inositol 

Assists in the guidance of nerve signals and the breakdown of fats. 
Produced by the body and comes in an alternate form as Vitamin 
B8. 

L-Carnitine 

Amino acid supposedly used for fat metabolism and muscular 
performance. Produced in the body naturally with the use of 
Vitamin C. 

Vinpocetine 

Extracted from periwinkles, it directly improves blood flow to the 
brain at very small doses. Has a half-life of roughly two and a half 
hours. 

Huperzine-A 

Inhibits the breakdown of acetylcholine and stimulates the central 
nervous system. May have cognitive-enhancing effects. 

Phosphatidylserine 

A phospholipid nutrient that possibly slows mental decline. Related 
to other soy phosphatides. 

Taurine 

Repairs nerve conduction and reduces muscle fatigue and anxiety. 



Caffeine 



A stimulant that also constricts vessels. Its diuretic (urination- 
promoting) properties can deplete the body of water-soluble 
vitamins like B-complexes. Takes effect in 30-45 minutes and 
peaks at 4 hours. 300mg or more can cause side effects. 

Theobromine 

Both a metabolite of caffeine use and naturally present in 
chocolate. While a stimulant, it also has vasodilatory effects, 
contrary to caffeine. 



Herbal Components 

Bacopa Monieri 

Antioxidant. Improves energy through ATP action and may improve 
motor learning ability. 

Bilberry Extract 

Used by Royal Air Force pilots in WWII to sharpen their night 
vision, but its effectiveness is unproven. 

Blueberry Extract 

Contains high amounts of antioxidants and may reduce the decline 
of memory. 

Guarana 

A natural source of caffeine from South America, it also contains 
small amounts of other substances such as choline and 
theophylline. 

Cacao Fruit Extract 

Stuff from chocolate. It has a much higher concentration of 
theobromine than other sources of caffeine. 

Green Orange Extract (Citrus aurantium) 

A primary source of synephrine, a stimulant now found in 
some metabolism-enhancing diet products. Possibly increases 
adrenaline levels. 

Grape Seed Extract 

Contains high amounts of antioxidants and possibly protects 
against blood vessel damage. May inhibit blood clotting. 

Eleutherococcus 

Has adaptogenic and antioxidant properties. Used for increasing 
endurance but may cause drug interactions. 

Panax Ginseng 

An adaptogenic herb. Some evidence for improving mental 
performance. 

Ginkgo Biloba 

Vasodilator. Improves concentration, attention and blood flow to the 
brain. Also inhibits blood clotting, which is a possible medical drug 
interaction. Also an antioxidant. 

Rhodiola 

An adaptogen known for its fatigue-reducing effects 
by regulating serotonin and dopamine levels. May 
conflict with MAOI anti-depressants. 



i 



BISTLFE CRU3S FUlGWEll 





■ III I I I I l^^i^M 



I Jl ■ ■ 



s 



s. 




— * 



T 



T 



■v /^ 



ia 




Bv: Hit oshura & Charmwitch 



i 



► 



/ 





//-/// 







Absence 7 

■v. Tft 



Jrl 



After a one-year hiatus (with a little Sol// Nomad to tii 
Disgaea is back with the title of (who'd have guessed?) 
3: Absence of Justice. This time, though, it's graduated to the "" 
We've been playing the tar out of the Japanese import for a wnne 
now and we figured it's about time for a beefy preview and a short but 
savory interview with NIS America's Jack Niida. 

The first thing we noticed about Disgaea 3 is that its graphics will not 
win any awards. Then again, that's been the case with the previous 
" "' "' to play this game on an old stai 

V, but you wouldn't want to, since trying to play it using the I 
supplied composite cables may actually give you a headache. This 
game needs to be played in progressive scan mode, otherwise the 
flickering, shimmering, and apparently aliased visuals will make your 
eyes bleed. In 480p or higher everything is fine. It's not eye-poppingly 
awesome, but at least you can sit down to play and enjoy it like its 



Oddly, Disgaea 3 plays unlike either of the previous games. In fact 
a lot of things from Disgaea and Disgaea 2 have been removed or 
drastically overhauled. Weapon Mastery? Gone. Geo Syml 
Gone. Learning Skills? Gone. Dark Assembly? gone. Even though 
these things have been stripped out for Disgaea 3, they've been 
retooled enough to be a significant departure to what Disgaea fans 



'"A lot of things from Disgaea and Disgaea 2 
have been removed or drastically overhauled. 

Weapon Mastery in the previous games allowed characters to equip 
any weapon and learn any skill they wanted to from them. Certain 
characters would learn skills and become more powerful faster with a 
weapon that they were better suited to. This time around, characters 
can still equip any weapon they want, but the concept of constantly 
using that weapon to gain more skills and higher stats has been 
removed. In its place, you simply buy skills from a shop using Mana 
acquired from defeating enemies. Every character now has their 
own unique selection of skills that they can purchase from the store. 
You can set up to sixteen skills to be used in battles, provided your 
character has an appropriate weapon equipped. 

Another change that's been made to the skills is the method by which 
you can improve them. Previously, you had to use skills ad nauseum 
to make them more powerful. This process was painfully slow, so the 
designers sped this up by allowing you to purchase skill upgrades 
using Mana. This process greatly increases a skill's power and cost, 
allowing you to upgrade them at a very satisfying pace. Magic-using 
characters rely on these upgrades, because its the only way to 
improve their spells' range and area. 



% 



iNftha^wrxIdfflrauert 

'iEoi¥Bra=SL 



^SIEAHHLtf^j ■«* 







aaOAMAGE I f>\7l 9 h 



h ^ 



\ 



%A 










Publisher: NIS America • Developer: NIS • Genre: Tactical RPG • Category: Overlording • Release Date: 3Q 2008 • # of Players: 1 



44_PRB/IB/VDSG\B\3 ABSBNCECFJ LBT1CE 



hWTjrXREGWmM^G^NE VQJJVE4 ISSUE2 BLACKWIHAVME^CE 



mRTJTXREGWmMAG^NE VQJJVE4 ISSLE2 HACKWlHAvME^CE 



DSG\B\3ABSB\CECFJ LBT1CE_PRB/IB/V45 






[_». 




I 






ar 



L DAMAGE 




The Dark Assembly has been replaced by a Student 
r •' " r:i °° +l ^ game's home base this time is a 
Demon Academy for young demons. The Student 
Council is actually a part of the new "Home Room" 
system in Disgaea 3. 

The Home Room is a place where you can customize 
certain numbers of troops and organize them into 
clubs. These clubs confer bonuses to the characters 
involved along with a special bonus to the club's 
leader. Depending on which desk you seat your 
characters at when you're signing them up for clubs, 
they may get other bonuses too, such as an increased 
chance of a team attack if they happen to be sitting 
next to each other. It's through the Student Council 
in the Home Room that you can establish clubs and 
customize or expand your Home Room, along with all 
the usual things that players have come to expect. 

All this new stuff is really just the tip of the iceberg. 
The story even seems to be incredibly bizarre. In the 
game's first couple of chapters, the story is flat out 
surreal. In Disgaea's upside-down world we have the 
uber-geeky adolescent demon Mao, who's obsessed 
with super-hero comics. His plan is to take over from 
his father by mimicking the do-good super-heroes 
from his comics. This draws the ire of Raspberyl, who 
bills herself as the Demon Academy's #1 delinquent 
by being all things good. She self-righteously believes 
being good to be the ultimate wrong, and thus sets 
out to put a stop to Mao's plans. The story gets even 
stranger when Mao captures Almaz, who's a human 



calling himself a Hero. He becomes an 
object of intense curiosity for Mao, as 
Mao wants to learn everything about him 
to realize his plans. Almaz tells Mao that he 
has to look within himself to become a hero, and 
things become even stranger. Mao has to literally 
journey inside his heart and soul, via a heart bank, to 
find what it means to be a hero. As is the case with all 
NIS stories, things quickly get more bizarre the further 
the plot progresses. Disgaea 3 seems to pull out all 
the stops in this regard, and looks to be far more 



Fans can also be pleased to know that Tenpei Sato 
is back again with another exceptional musical score. 
There's a good amount of vocal songs, including the 
main theme which plays inside the Demon Academy. 
There's also an increased usage of piano pieces, and 
several different modern interpretations of Japanese 
melodies that work to give D3 a unique atmosphere. 
That's not to say the Disgaea feel in the music has 
been sacrificed, but further explores it like the game's 
scenario is doing. 

In order to better understand where Disgaea 3 is 
going, and why it was produced for the PS3, we 
asked NIS a few questions. NIS America's Marketing 
Manager Jack Niida provided a few insights into its 
development as well as a bit of news regarding future 
titles from NIS. Special thanks goes to Nao Zook for 
setting us up. 



S 





v 



~f~ 



% 



i\\ 



rY 



HGM Scores an exclusive interview with NISA'sJack Niida about Disgaea 
3, innovation, hi-res sprites, and the future! 



HGM: Why the jump to the PS3 for this 
iteration of Disgaea? 

Jack Niida: The jump to PS3 was mainly 
ue to the developmental limits of the PS2 
system. Many people might not realize it, 
but compared to the PS3, the PS2 has a 
limited amount of memory that can be used 
to process 2D info, thus limiting the creativity 
of the developers. The PS3 allowed us to 
expand what we could express within the 
2D format and further evolve the game 
system. The PS2's a great platform, but in 
order to make a truly fun game, the PS3 was 



HGM: What's the 
time around? 
JN: In a world wh 



e set-up for the st( 



JN: In a world where evil is good and good 
is evil, young demons are trained at demon 
universities to become the next overlords. 
These demon universities are run by 
powerful devils, but few ever witness these 
demon professors. Demon students roam 
and do whatever they wish within the school, 
creating chaos, violence, and bloodshed. 

This time, the main character is a demon 

prince named Mao and upon reading a 

badass comic book, he suddenly decides to 

become a hero in order to defeat his overlord 

father. Mao quickly captures Almaz, who 

claims that he's a hero, as his experimental 

uinea pig while Raspberyl, fearing that her 

claim as the "No. 1 Delinquent" is being 

challenged, tries to "talk" Mao out of 

becoming a hero. 

HGM: Can you tell us a bit about 
the new protagonist? 
JN: Mao is a mad scientist 
researching ways to destroy 
his overlord father. He 
hates humans and good 
guys, but he's interested 
in super heroes as his 
experimental guinea pigs. 

HGM: What about the 

supporting characters, 

such as Raspberyl? 

JN: Raspberyl is an 

interesting character. 

She is the worst 

delinquent demon 

at the demon school, 

meaning she's a 

good person by human 

'- ~'s. Her goal is to 

ueouiiic Li iG single greatest 

outlaw in the netherworld, so 

she continues to do volunteer 

work and help the weak. 

HGM: What is the idea behind the 

"Home Room" system, and how did 

it develop? 



LAME HERO 



HUMAN ALMAZ von Armadin Adamant 



(SMTLBWsiajrifft 



JN: Since the game takes place in the 
Netherworld academy, we felt it would be 
more appropriate to have a new class room 
setting, rather than using the overlord's 
castle. The overlord's castle remains, but 
the character creation and some of the event 
scenes will take place in the classroom, and 
what hotheade - ' " " " 

more sinister thai i u ic ^luuci u ouui ion : 

HGM: Will it take four million hours to 
complete? [Ed. note: This is a ton_ 
cheek question referencing the back of the 
Japanese copy's case.] 
JN: Let's hope you'll be done playing by the 
time the next Disgaea comes out. 

Jokes aside, Disgaea 3 has many new 
features that should keep 
for countless hours of game play. The most 
notable change is the addition of < 
puzzle element, called Geo Blocks, inese 
puzzle blocks are placed strategically on 
the battle map and add a tetris-like block 
erasing element to battles. Combining the 
new elements with the Item World and 



players will have plenty to enjoy. 

HGM: Should fans expect improved visuals 
for the current generation systems in the 
future? 

JN: We have several titles up our sleeves 
and you can expect better visuals. We 
learned how to make smother moving and 
higher res sprites for the PS3, so we will 
apply techniques we've acquired to the 
current generation systems. 

HGM: What's next for N1 after Disgaea 3? 
JN: There's an interesting title under 
development and it's not an RPG. I can't 
give out any more info now, but we have a 
press event coming up this June, so please 
look forward to future announcements. It's 
going to be an interesting year for N1 . 



North Americc 



'The PS2's a great platform, but 
in order to make a truly fun game, 
the PS3 was necessary." 











V 


^3 







&** 



s«*&*t 



llS* 


Ji 




- 




r > 




J - 






w 



gfe 



,*rrwK* 




■&€ 




46_PRB/IB/\/_DSG\B\3t ABSBNCECFJ LET1CE 



H^RDCCREGWmM^G^NE VQ1JVE4 ISSUE2 BLACKWrHAVH^E^CE 



H^RDTXREGWmM^G^NE VQJJVE4 ISSLE2 BAO<\AnHAVB\ffi\l\CE 



DSG\B\3ABSB\HCFI ISTKE PRB/IBA/47 






Ill get this right out of the way at the beginning of this 
feature. I'm not your typical Dragon Ball Z fan. 



m 



\ 



11 



f< 



voOo 



II 






i 



i 



We get an inside look at Atari's new 

Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit. Is it a new 

start for the company, or the same 

o^ same ol'? 

By Roger Danish and the 
Off Base Players 



unL*> 

" NEW STRUT? 





D 







To be honest, while I enjoy watching anime as a whole 
and appreciate the medium for its style, unique stories, 
and interesting character designs, I've never fully 
committed to it like so many rabid fans. So, when an 
opportunity comes along to write about a long-standing 
and beloved anime franchise such as DBZ, I typically 
pass it on to someone who is more familiar with the 
source material. I know this is not a winning endorsement 
for someone who is about to wax on for the next handful 
of pages about this very same subject, but I can say that 
I appreciate a good fighting game, and Dragon Ball Z: 
Burst Limit definitely falls in this category. 

For those of you inexplicably not in the know, Akira 
Toriyama's Dragon Ball Zis the second of the three 
Dragon Ball series. It was preceded by Dragon Ball, a 
retelling of the Monkey King legend, and succeeded by 
Dragon Ball GT. Dragon Ball is a cult classic on both 
sides of the Pacific Ocean. Its knockdown brawls, wild 



storyline, and splashy effects makes it one of the most 
suitable franchises to be turned into a game series. It 
has enjoyed dozens of video game releases across over 
twenty systems. In essence, the DB franchise is as close 
to evergreen as you can get. Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit is 
the first DBZ title to come out for both the Xbox 360 and 
PS3. While it's not necessarily a huge leap over the past 
few DBZ titles, it definitely makes for a fun time. 

Burst Limit takes advantage of many of the PS3 and Xbox 
360's expanded capabilities, all without going overboard 
with gimmicky special effects. The most obvious feature 
is how amazing it looks. The graphics engine has been 
overhauled to look and feel like you're controlling the 
anime, rather than in a video game facsimile of it. In 
fact, the engine is being used for both gameplay and the 
opening and interstitial cinematics, giving the game a high 
quality, and uniform, look. There are even cases where 
the game is more visually attractive than the anime itself. 



• 





_.^XLLQl **W 


KtfpM 


— 


j H IfS 



"■ •"T-J 



^O 






*$|f 




48 RB/IBA/CRACDSB^LLZ BURST LMT 



hABDQ^EGWfflM^G^NE VQJJVE4nSSLE2' BACKWTHA VH\CE\l\CEl 



Publisher: Atari/Namco • Developer: Dimps • Genre: Fighting • Category: Grunting • Release Date: 6/10/2008 



|HA RDCORE GA M Efi M AGAflNEfyOLUM EfrflSS UE 2lBLACK<WlfH 7 A\V 



I 



IDR'A'G'ONBMLKBUR 



TM B^aMB[fl B 



^ J 



COinniTBEPORBCOHBRllTpilsSl 



TO OVER 9000!? 



Another new feature in Burst Limit is multi- 
regional online gameplay. In plain English, 
this means that you can team up with your 
friends on a cooperative adventure or 
challenge your greatest enemies to a Super 
Saiyan deathmatch no matter where in the 
world they're playing from. 

Burst Limit drops you into the action at the 
beginning of the Saiyan Saga and takes you 
all the way through to the end of the Cell 
Saga. As you progress through the story 
mode, called Z Chronicles, you'll watch story- 
advancing cinemas at the beginning and end 
of each battle. As with the past Dragon Ball 
Z games, the stories mirror the progression 
of the anime, though over the course of 
considerably less time. 

Even the most die-hard fans of the anime 
and manga may find their fair share of 
surprises. To begin with, you'll begin 
with just three of the classic DBZ cast 
unlocked. You can play as Goku, Krillin, and 
Piccolo in Versus mode, or you can take 
to Z Chronicles and proceed to unlock an 
additional eighteen characters along the 
way. Burst Limit boasts a total of twenty-one 
characters in its default line-up. This isn't the 
biggest roster in the history of DBZ games, 
but the smaller roster allowed the dev team 
to really fine tune the combat differences 
between say, Goku and Super Saiyan Goku. 

Outside of Z Chronicle, there are four other 
game mode options that will keep you 
fighting. Versus is available for both on- and 
offline play. Tutorial will teach you all the 
moves you need to know to decimate your 
opponents. Training mode will give you an 
unlucky target to practice the new game 
mechanics on. Finally, Trial mode will put 



everything you have learned to the test in a 
grueling survival challenge. 

Fans of the original Budokai entries in the 
series will be happy to hear that the franchise 
has been brought back to Dimps, the designers 
of Budokai 1 , 2, and 3. However, don't think 
that just because we've got a familiar developer 
that this is the same old game. Burst Limit is 
running off of an entirely new engine that packs 
even more Kamehameha wave action onto 
your game disc. 

Burst Limit eschews the wide-ranging and 
environment destroying insanity of the 
Budokai Tenkaichi titles in favor of a more 
intimate setting. The characters now exist 
on a 2D plane in a 3D world. You can move 
into the foreground and background to dodge 
attacks or rotate around your enemy, but 
the majority of the action takes place in a 
standard fighting game field of view. 

The biggest addition to the fighting engine 
are Drama Pieces. These are anime-style 
cut-ins, for lack of a better phrase, where 
a character will jump in, perform an attack 
or give you a bonus, and then leave. If you 
think of them as being similar to the Strikers 
of the King of Fighters series, you're on 
the right track. Unlike Strikers, however, 
Drama Pieces are not triggered by button 
commands. Instead, each of them have 
a number of conditions that must be met 
before they are activated automatically. If 
you dodge an attack or your health reaches 
a certain level, for example, a Drama Piece 
will be triggered. Generally, you have three 
slots for Drama Pieces, though this can vary 
depending on what you select or what's given 
to you by the game. 



^H J 



; ■•■. ^r 



r ** 



^T 






N 



*\ 



\ 








50 REyiB/VCRflGCI\B<ULZBlRSrLMr 



BymFEQWm WSONE V01J^4i rsSLE2 WCKWTHA \ gQMEl 

^Ofe. 



SG0RE:4.5of 5 



|wRrjr^E«iymiy»CTSEwaL^E4TBSUE2^ ^q<wthavmb^ce1 






291 EP,50I,ES V "OBTORS HERE* JB5T B l|TnE 

or those of you who are inexpiicahlv n P „ . .„ _ . . ^ ' " "TTIE. 



S>^ 



^ sagas and buff mni ° 'SZ'S^ ° BZ ^^ a » this 
he ma,n character Qf ^ w/th i weird names may be a little confu: 



's the kind hec 



arted Son Goku. More th 
rm an impressively huge 



"«ng his W. In fact, he has more now ihT* T ° f Physical *^s 
crazy amount of power art Jik, P ° Wer r than an V human on Earth This 

-«■ He' S a ^j,:zt :T^zz e f r that he,s ^ el 

to transform ini-n ™=„f ,... or num an-like aliens that h s „= «,„ ,,.„:, 



that he's not i 



~ -00 — 



to transform into giant ap w en xpZ" to T?Z ^ haVe the *< y 
S^an and add in a were-ape anT you ^cSe ^ " "* * Tate 

Saiyan Saga -» 

him for his entire life. That all rh^Jf^ had never met anyone else like 
his relaxing afternoon and demanded hel ^ br ° ther ' R ^itz c ed 
brink of extinction. When GokTrefnc ! J ° m hlS native ra ^ which is on th 
his brother kidnaps his ^n Goh a an ° h J °' n Radit2 and ^ «* hlma ty 
do what he says. Raditz a, so warns' Got thai T f ° *" "'"" if Gok " ^' 
o Earth. Vegeta, the powerful and east 1 I n< * the °^ ^ coming 
•"s way too. Thus the Saiyan Saga begin!" ^ ^ ° f the Sai ^s, is on" 

NamekSaga-^ 



join his native 



e race, which 



able to leave the 



>n of Namek. 



■uckily, everyone except 



ku and Frieza 



and his enemie, 



ne end of the 



Saiyan Sag, 



Needless to say, 



crave and ki, 



iemies have been spared. As i 
here were some civilian i,w 



"d hero come 



V 's safe, his planet has been « 
1 most fi ghts between super al 



a huge problem sin e t e d 'd ca n h^ '°t ^ S ° me friends defeat u a, T 
^- (BY the way, did we ment o t£r?! ^ ^^ f ° "' fe With th * Power £ J * 

Frieza Saga -» 

?""»; °™»» Balls. *,«,,, »„ J iJ,"™' "" ,he «* «* *l» tad his „« on lh , 






•f>fl 



Cell Saga -» 

(who was miraculously saved aSS^T W3S happily back °" Earth Frieza 
^^^old, crash teZ^^^*^££%L 



0^= 



so 



** ^9 Cold whe = n T'^ZTZl ^J"^ ***«S 



nks. After killi 



' sudden threat. 



> saiyan happ 



ns to be Vegeta's son 



ns boku of a far greater 



-r-xr^ratrszE^==cr 



»a"i was epic and lengt 



■■»■•« ™«r Killing Freeza and King Cold Tmnt 69Sta S son from the future 






[f 



- i 






Si 



SKW! 



We get a word with the Producer of Dragon Ball Z: Burst 
Limit, and get some insight into how the game was made! 



52PB/1B/V CRACDvEAlLZ BLFSLtHt. 



JV„ 




For this feature, we got the chance to visit 
Namco Bandai's Tokyo offices in Shinagawa and 
sit down with Ryo Mito, the producer for Burst 
Limit, as well as a handful of previous DBZ titles. 
After a brief walkthrough of the game and its 
modes, Ryo spent some time talking about what's 
new, the goal for this game, and his experience 
working on such a big franchise. Here are a few 
of his thoughts on Burst Limit: 

On what sets this game apart from the other DBZ 
video games: 

"Since this is our first DBZ game on next 
gen consoles, we put a lot of emphasis and 
effort on substantially updating the graphics 
engine over the PS2 and Wii. Also, the biggest 
difference between the others in the series has 
to be the worldwide Online Battle feature. This 
is the first time gamers and DBZ fans across the 
world will be able to challenge each other to 
online battles." 

On which system he and the team preferred to 
work on: 

"We feel that both systems have their specific 
strengths and lend themselves well to our game 
and engine. The PS3 and 360 versions were 
simultaneously in co-development, so each 
benefited from the other's development." 

On how North American and European fans 
influenced the game: 

"Overall, our fans have been asking for an 
online feature, which was not possible with the 
last generation of systems. This was a big focus 
for us with Burst Limit and we are happy with 
the outcome." 

On whether DBZ will transcend other genres, 
such as an RPG/ fighting game hybrid: 

"Our challenge is to find ways to keep the 
franchise and game fresh while not straying away 
from the essence of the animation. While we've 
thought about the possibility of producing some 
sort of DBZ RPG, we ultimately feel the franchise 
lends itself more to a pure fighting game, as 
that's what the series is all about." 



On how do they decide which characters go in 
and which get cut: 

"For this game, we put our concentration was 
on updating the engine and game modes. With 
this in mind, we put the focus on the major 
characters in the game, using the Saiyan Saga 
and Cell saga storylines." 

On the possibility of downloadable content via 
Xbox Live and PlayStation Network: 

"There is plenty of unlockable content in the 
game that becomes available as you play and 
proceed through the story mode (Drama Pieces, 
new characters, etc), but at the moment, we do 
not have any downloadable content planned." 

On Akira Toriyama's involvement in the game: 

"We don't work directly with Toriyama-san, but 
we do work closely with Toei Animation and our 
licensors to ensure the quality and consistency 
of the franchise. We have a long-standing 
relationship and we both work together to make 
the best game possible." 

On the addition of Drama Pieces and how they 
affect battles: 

"We wanted to recreate the drama and action of 
the series and infuse it into the game. Typically, 
cut scenes don't affect gameplay. This time 
around, several variables will come into play 
that affect gameplay. For example, a partner will 
come and support you, resulting in your attack 
power going up and your fatigue going down. 
It's our goal to entertain both the DBZ fan and 
gamers. We hope to achieve this by entertaining 
the DBZ fan with cutscenes, but also gamers with 
their interactive gameplay." 



IHWrXREGfWffimG^E VQJJVE4TISSLE2' BACKWT1HA VH\CE\l\CEl 




Exhumed by) a^es 







***** 



\ 



learning how itatfuj r-^CS 

no quickie event- q r 

make the shovels ^ ork 

o, dirt. Instead you" Vsar m 
a« three iomtsoune^ 
simu >taneouslytoa 
avarietyoHasksr « ocaVch , ng 

P* ng r d "iatuou 9 her 
turtles, and its a 

than it looks. 

^andXhutton^^ ^*£~» 

COn ts d padwCthe-ist 

ttieP nno is worked with 
at the scoop >s" n , y 
Square and &rc>e d 

right on the c inthe 
make the cab sw 9 g 

appropriate diect-O vm ed 

b\ and B2 contro^ 

.,.-*♦ rateroillar ^ 




motions twice on — -— 

the theory that 
that's enough. 
After several 

w reload the level 
and start over, 
and then maybe 





MB ■§ the early stages thats ^^ 

cha " en9 ' f S ve tneir mastery. „ as the 

want to prove challenges in it as w ^.^ 

AvC ade Mode has two sets ^ garne^ ^ ^ 




I 



T 



B 'h caterpillar 
tread tor forward 

and back, and 

same again 

tor the left- 
Operating 









tftmif 
"ratals 




8l 





out each of the three sizes of power shovel, ranging from 
small to huge, with special tasks for each one. These are 
straightforward construction jobs such as moving dirt piles, 
digging holes, and tearing down buildings. Part-Timer mode 
is the meat of the game, though, and this is where things 
/ . start getting bizarre. 

Part Timer is a series of challenges ranging from 
standard to just plain goofy. Digging a deep hole can 
segue into serving the right kind of curry for each 
order, then into using the shovel to ring up toy sales, 
and then beating a limo into scrap. It's pleasantly 
bizarre and, once you've gotten the hang of moving 
the shovel with some kind of reliability, not that hard, 
but the real challenge comes from maxing out the 
score by completing each job quickly. If you blow it, 
though, which will happen often, Power Shovel Will 
pat you on the head and offer an easier version of 
the level. The trick to not feeling patronized by this 
is to not fail so much. 

Once the game is completed either by 
running out of continues or succeeding at 
everything, it's time to ring up the paycheck 
and go shopping for a few extra levels or 
some audio goodies. Cleaning out the store 
won't take too long, though, even with the 
exorbitant prices on some of the better 
goodies, at which point Power Shovefs big 
weakness becomes apparent. 

Power Shovel is a clever, unique game that 
has its own special appeal, but the content- 
light feel from its arcade heritage is hard to 
ignore. As fun as it is to master the complex 
controls, the jobs get familiar a bit too quickly 
despite the variation in level layout that 
shows up in the higher difficulty levels. The 
level editor is too basic to offer the replay 
value that it should have, and pretty soon 



f ***** * * * * * 



That doesn't mean it's bad, though, just shorter than 

it should be. Power Shovel has a bizarre charm that's 

accentuated by a bare-bones translation that not 

only leaves the light J-Pop soundtrack untouched 

but doesn't even change the foreman's voice 

to English. This is a budget game given a 

budget translation (even the end credits are 

untouched and in the wrong alphabet) but it 

tries something different and forces you to 

meet it on its own terms. Power Shovel 

successfully models a complex 

system that's fun to master, and it 

plays like nothing else out there 

throughout a variety of 

creative challenges. 

Its only real crime is 

leaving you wanting 

more than it could deliver. 







& Bet it wrttiUw Power Slwwn & 



o 



irsTjTIIi 



m 



1513 300.00D 



HQUOtiHartdiS 




! E 



■ 



PC30MR 



PC 10 



PC 110 



_« f ■■■#_ ■ „ « mm *»» h 

*~ -fi ** J? fi J** * * * * * * * Jf f f ** < ** + •> Jt * j* *< * * f- **■* **?**?*****<.***** s 



\-*~-f T f.~.'f : ;*-#-fij-**.*+* ****** 



p)E«flflJlo» 



HARDCORE GAMER MAGAZINE V0LUME4 ISSUE2 BLACKWITH A VENGEANCE 



H^RDfXRECAIVERmCA2l\EVCUJVE4 ISSLE2 BLACKWrHAVENS\NCE 



DtAHySr^jX/B- Q^AVB^BISI 



\ -V. 



~LL± 



■*»* ' 



** * BB *« 



Jtil 




Kyouko is missing! Ifs up to super mahjong idol 
Shouko Misaki,aka. Suchie Pai S, to find her. 



Armed with the power of the Suchie Stick 
and awesome mahjong skillz, she sets 
out to discover the whereabouts of her 
predecessor. 

Suchie Pai IV is the most recent game in the 
incredibly long-running Suchie Pai series (an 
arcade mainstay; its first home installment 
was released on the Super Famicom). 
Moving away from Any-Machi, Japan, the 
story unfolds in the otaku-soaked streets of 
Akihabara. The premise is simple: wander 
around in search of maid cafes, challenge the 
proprietresses to a friendly game of 1-on-l 
mahjong, win, Huh??, and finally PROFIT by 
taking lewd photos of said young lady in an 
outfit of your choosing. Is the photo-op less 
perverted than the nudity found in the prior 
games? Well... some of the "costumes" are, 
let's say, "only in J apan." The cast features 
a predominantly new host of girls with a 
handful of returning favorites. 

Things begin with Shouko challenging the 
player to a quick game. The operative 
word here is quick, because Shouko will 
annihilate you with extreme prejudice (in 
future play-throughs, this is skippable). 
After Shouko bolsters her ego, you must 
select a partner. Each partner has a special 
power (read: cheating) that can be called 
upon to augment one's hand. 

The partner, therefore, is the first real 
opponent. Having been beaten, the now 
team-of-two must proceed from cafe to 
cafe, beating all of the other characters. 
Completing the game with each partner in 
tow is required to unlock the many hidden 
options/ modes in the game. SPIV uses the 
standard 2-player videogame mahjong 
variant, so there's no restriction on calling 
Chi vs Pon or an open Kan. Each round will 
come to a close after thirty-four tiles are 
discarded (seventeen from each player), 
assuming no winning hands. For those 
unfamiliar with the terminology, please refer 
to the sidebar for basic definitions. 

Perhaps the largest appeal of the series 
(outside of the cheesecake) is the ability to 
cheat like hell! After each winning round, 
the player is presented with a tile-matching 
game. Each match grants one of many 
special abilities; such as the Fire Sekkan 
(which can cancel an opponent's Ron) or 
the Suchie Stick (an instant Ippatsu). In the 
prior installments, these power-ups were 
a rare commodity and best saved for the 
later levels when the opponents became 
stupidly difficult. Since SPIV practically 
gives these away, the game's difficulty is 
completely dropped, and the Al isn't nearly 
as aggressive as it was in the prior titles. 
Now factor in the completely broken power- 
up that is the White Shuusei (prevents an 
opponent's Tsumo) and Remi's partner 
ability (creates an instant Tenpai with a 
Chii Toitsu hand), and the result is quite 
possibly the easiest mahjong videogame 
available. Arguably, the drop in challenge 
does make the game very nOOb-friendly, so 
for those that haven't played mahjong, this 
is actually a very good place to start. That 
being said, the unlockable modes do offer 
significantly stronger adversaries. 



56 IIVPCRTS SU3HEBM IV 



The SP series has always featured high 
production values, and the fourth entry is 
no exception. Kenichi Sonoda {Bubblegum 
Crisis, Gunsmith Cats) reprises his role as 
lead artist, with assistance from Poyoyon 
Rock {Popotan). All of the character art 
is high-res and featured prominantly on- 
screen. No longer isthe view of an opponent 
restricted to a bust shot in the center; the 
girls now stand proudly, filling nearly a 
third of the screen in all their moe glory. 
Increased presence and detail is joined 
graciously with loads of animation and 
vocalizations. J aleco really knows how 
to play their audience like a drum. 

SPIV comes in two flavors: regular 
and limited edition. The regular 
edition includes a drama CD while 
the limited edition includes a small 
Shouko figure, a mini-artbook, and 
a revision of Suchie Pai III (that's 
right, a full second game). Clearly, 
the limited edition is easily the 
superior value. 



) * 







Then there are the character suits, 
each of which has four tiles: 

Ton (East Wind), Nan (South Wind), 
Shaa (West Wind), Pei (North Wind), 
Haku (White Dragon), Hatsu (Green 
Dragon), Chun (Red Dragon). 

A player's hand is constructed of 
thirteen tiles. During each turn, the 



player takes a fourteenth tile to see 
if it can complete a winning hand. If 
it doesn't, a tile must be discarded. 
Play continues in a circle, with each 
player either taking a tile from the 
wall (the rows of stacked tiles) or 
from an opponent's pond (their 
discard pile). A basic winning hand 
contains four triples and a pair. 

Triples can either be sequential 
numbers of a similar suit (i.e., 
3-Man, 4-Man, 5-Man) or three of the 
same tile (Shaa, Shaa, Shaa). 

A pair must be two of the same tile 
(i.e. Haku, Haku). There are more 
complicated hands that do not 
necessarily adhere to these rules, 
though (such as the Kokushi Musou). 



Basic Japanese 
mahjong terminology : 

Tsumo: Claiming a win from a tile 
drawn from the wall. 




lported by Kiken 




Ron: Claiming a win from a tile 
drawn from an opponent's pond. 

Chi: Claiming an opponent's 
discarded tile to complete a 
sequencial triple. 

Pon: Claiming an opponent's 
discarded tile to complete a 
uniform triple. 

Kan: Declaring 4 of a kind (can 
either be from one's hand or from a 
discarded opponent's pond). 

Riichi: Declaring that a hand is in 
Tenpai (must not have claimed any 
tiles from an opponent). 

Tenpai: A hand one tile away from 
winning. 

Ippatsu: A one shot win after 
declaring Riichi (the next tile 
claimed from the wall is a win). 

Need more help? Some 
further reading : 

J aleco's official Suchie Pai website: 

http://www.suchie-pai.net/ 

For an extremely detailed 
explanation of J apanese mahjong 
rules, including images of alll the 
tiles mentioned above, visit: 

http:/ / of b. net/ -whuang/ ugcs/ gp/ 
mahj ong/ mahj ong. html 

To learn more about Suchie Pai: 

http:/ / changevworld.com/ suchie/ 
suchie Museum.html 



SUOHERM IV IIVFCKT5 57 



Or' 







ri*.\T))\'.l C:\HT wit gift J B 




Saints j Ro.w/2 



i 



by BigWyrm 



THQ recently invited a slew of journalists 
to vis it their 'hood (San Francisco) for an 
informat ive gamers' day event . 



While there were plenty of great games 
on display, I spent most of my time playing 
Saints Row 2 co-op. With all of the hype 
surrounding the recent release of GTA IV, 
it's easy to blow off other 'sandbox' titles. 
But if there is one facet where Saints Row 
2 outshines GTA IV, it's definitely the online 
cooperative mode. 

Although co-op was set up over system link 
at the event, it will be available online in the 
final version of the game. However, there 
won't be any co-op lobbies to peruse, as 
the mode is only available to people on your 
friends list. That's a small price to pay for the 
ability to play special missions, freeplay, and 
the entire campaign cooperatively! That's 
right; now you and your bro can 'gang up' on 
rival gangs, perform drive-bys, defend your 
turf, beat up old ladies, and more! 

After watching my fellow journalists create 
some of the most hideous characters 
imaginable by using the expanded 
character creation tool (like a 300-pound 
woman sporting a pink Mohawk, bikini top, 
biker boots, and sideburns), I settled on a 
comparatively tame Asian dude with scars 
and a soul patch. Then I joined my partner- 
in-crime and we set off to create some four- 
fisted havoc. 

Our first missions tasked us with taking out 
all the gang members in a small building 
and then blowing up several makeshift 
drug labs. Fortunately, our hosts set us up 
by unlocking all weapons and giving them 
infinite ammo. Saweet! As a result, the entire 
building was riddled with bullets and rocked 
by explosions by the time we were finished. 
It was around this time that I discovered a 
new weapon, satchel charges! These handy 
explosives work like WW2 sticky bombs 
and adhere to practically any surface. 
Stick 'em to car bumpers, motorcycles, 
boats, helicopters and even people for a 
volatile salutation. 



Budding explosives experts can set multiple 
bombs at a time and detonate them 
simultaneously, which is how my homie and I 
took out the first three drug labs. Apparently, 
gang members don't like having their cash 
flow interrupted, so they swarmed after us 
in droves. After respawning, I decided to 
take the easy route. While my partner ran in 
with guns blazing, I sat back with the rocket 
launcher, carefully aimed between buildings 
and pedestrians, and let her fly! Baboom! 
The last few labs went down quickly. 

The next mission we undertook involved 
protecting a car from enemy vehicles trying 
to blow it off the road. We were given a 
helicopter and we took off with my compadre 
as the pilot while I manned the weapons. 
He seemed to have some difficulty with the 
controls at first, but quickly got the hang of 
it. We chased the friendly car and blasted 
the hell out of numerous vehicles on the 
road before we lost track of our target. Oh 
well, we went and got another helicopter 
and started exploring the city. Fortunately, 
players aren't forced to stay within a certain 
vicinity of one another in co-op, so we 
flew wherever we wanted. My pal didn't 
notice me inching up behind his helicopter 
until explosive rockets and machine gun 
fire pelted his chassis. For the next thirty 
minutes, it was free-for-all carnage as we 
shot and blew up everything in sight. 

This is just an incredibly small sampling of 
what is possible while playing Saints Row 
2 co-op mode. A nearly infinite number of 
viable strategies become available when 
a second player is thrust into the story 
missions. I'm really looking forward to 
playing this mode extensively, so feel free to 
hit me up online after the game is released 
and we'll do some virtual gangbangin'. 



J I 



Pkjy^uiijon *? , 



■IB! 



*»sJj 






r«5 



T 




HldrtttM^id^aai^ 



i 







JL^ 




io wit n tne screensnot, out yean, we aont Know wny tne title is spenea aerence eitner 




*£ 



fake that, gigantic evil rock thing of doon 



Big monsters are big. And lots. 



Forget J apan, this is European and fan-translated 
gaming. The English stuff you've never heard about. 

The Games America Forgot. 



Publisher: Essential Games • Developer: Sandlot 'Genre: Run &£un • Category: B-Movie Invas 



sion • # Players.- 7 . 



Global Defence 



H^RDCCREGWmM^G^NE VQJJVE4 ISSLE2 HACKWTHAVBIE^CE 



ft)7<*< 



oyjEirrT 







Earth Defense Force 2017 hit the 
360 last spring and was one of the 
most fun games of t he year. 



It's a pure frantic run & gun action romp with giant 
enemies, fully destructible environments, and huge 
amounts of firepower. It's also a remake, and Europe got 
the PS2's superior sequel in Global Defence Force. 

The bugs have returned to continue their ravaging of 

arth, which is pretty rude seeing as we've only just 

rebuilt after the last time. It's up to the Global Defense 

Force to protect our planet again, fighting in new 

"' against new enemies, and there's 



cvci 1 a acoui iu payable character to spice up the familiar 
action. Pale Wing joins Storm One in repelling the aliens, 
and while her defense is weaker, she makes up for it by 
)le to fly. The other primary difference between 
the two is Pale Wing's weapon loadout, which consists 
of energy weapons that are a bit short on range but pack 
serious punch. Pale Wing is designed to get in close and 

amage while turning bugs, rol 
walkers, flying saucers, and not-Godzillas into well-fried 
fertilizer. She's fast, nimble, deadly, sports a protective 
mini-skirt, and is a ton of fun to play. 

Like EDF:20 1 7 before it, GDF is a fast-action game with 
enemies that have just enough Al to attack. They arrive 
in huge waves to make up for their lack of brain, and the 



fun comes from moving fast and thinking just enough to 
survive while reflex takes over. Giant ants spit acid while 
spiders have movement-inhibiting webs, and giant robot 
walkers shoot fans of laser fire and explosive plasma 
balls. There's a lot going on and it's all deadly. 



When an enemy goes down, it may drop one of three 
things. Health is instantly useful, but Armor and Weapon 
packs don't take effect until after the level is over. Each 
Armor pack adds one point to HP, but the real treat is 
the Weapon packs, 
hundred weapons that he or she can earn, although they 
can only take two into any battle. The right mix depends 
on the level, and sometimes it takes some ex| 
to figure out what works. Homing weapons are mucn 
more useful in a field than a cave's tight corridors, but 
it's always fun to drop a grenade over the edge of a 
precipice and hear the spiders squeal. 

Global Defence Force is a blast in multiplayer and 
packed with replay value; the only real drawback is that 
it's a tricky game to get running on a US PS2. It requires 
a modded system, of course, but that won't be enough 
:o make it playable on an NTSC TV. You'll need make an 
.iso of the CD, apply a program called PAL2NTSC, and 
re-burn it. It's a bit of a runaround, but absolutely worth it 



f 

Q£B^LCffB\CEKKE GWBAIVE3ICA KPGT 59 



_^_ ■ ^^ by Sardius 



In an era where tutorials are mandatory 
and pressing the Start button triggers an 
intelligence test more often than it begins 
a video game, little confusion remains 
in the world of interactive entertainment. 
Thanks to the invention of the Nintendo 
Wii, many have only recently learned 
that video games are things that you 
can play. Even armed with our newfound 
knowledge, though, a few games from the 
NES era still mystify us. These games have 
achieved a rare transcendence. They are 
inscrutably bad, and I love them for it. 



Dr. J ekyll and Mr. Hyde 

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 
is the worst game to ever 
be released for the NES. 
Don't debate me on this. 
In my mind, Dr. Jekyll 
handily trumps infamous 
unlicensed garbage 
like Cheetahmen //and 
Action 52, because for all 
their defects and general 
incompetence, I can at 





least understand why those 
games are the way they are. 

See, unlike its unlicensed 
brothers in crap, Dr. Jekyll and 
Mr. Hyde wasn't an elaborate 
scam perpetrated by a fly-by- 
night company headquartered in 
the Bahamas. It was published 



by Bandai, a very successful 
publisher that persists today 
thanks to the fact that people will 
buy anything if it has an anime 
license attached to it. Before we 
proud Americans fell to the terrible 
effeminate might of Inuyasha 
and Naruto, though, Bandai had 
to find some other license to 
exploit to gain a foothold in the 
western world. 



GO FKnjF^Tl^D^RKSIttCFFeRDGWIING 



works in any way you'd 
expect, though. Jekyll's slow 
walk makes him easy prey 
for each level's swarms of 
angry townsfolk. His jump 
takes him several feet in the 
air, but only a few inches 
forward. His cane attack 
— if you can believe it — 
actually causes damage 
to himself when used 
on enemies. 

I've come to accept that Dr. 

Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is an awful game. I've played all the way through it, and I've 
even seen both endings. Neither leaves me with a feeling of resolution, though. 
Instead, I'm left with unanswered questions. Why does this game exist? Why 
does it play so very badly? Why has nobody on our obsessive modern Internet 
cared enough to scan or transcribe its instruction manual? I may have beaten Dr. 
Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but until I uncover the source of its evil, have I truly won? 



Takeshi no Chousenjou places you in the 
role of a down-and-out salaryman who 
has been given an unexpectedly small 
yearly bonus from his company. 
To win the game, you must quit 
your job, go to a karaoke bar and 
get drunk, then black out and 
wake up at home. Afterwards, 
the correct course of action is to 
divorce your wife, abandon her 
and your kids, and spend your 
meager severance pay on a trip 
to a distant island in search of 
hidden treasure. 



Atlantis no Nazo 

In many ways, the Japan-only Famicom release of Atlantis no Nazo ("The 
Mystery of Atlantis") is the anti-Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Whereas Dr. Jekylfs 



7frjf\m 



goals are straightforward enough 
but its mechanics are jacked 
to hell, Atlantis no Nazo plays 
decently but has the strangest 
expectations for progress I've 
ever seen in a video game. 

It seems simple enough at first. 
Run to the right. Throw bombs 



«JM ClXCTiWHICi 




at enemies. Try not to get 
crapped on by mutant birds 
who squirt poison poop. 
Soon, you'll find a door. 
Enter it, and you're on the 
way to level two! Yeah! 
Somewhere along the 
journey, though, things take 
a detour into crazytown. 




t*. VV. |A 



JTrtT TPKK&KI 



'IrTrt f TO CQ R*. jrt" - M 



retarded solutions, and the 
other half will drag you 
through the depths of 
platforming hell. Some will 
kill you before you have 
a chance to react. Some 
can't even be accessed 
without cheating. 

Naturally, I love this 
game to death. 



Takeshi no 
Chousenjou 

Ohhhh man. It doesn't get 
any better than this. Takeshi 
no Chousenjou ("Takeshi's 
Challenge," named for its creator, 




film director "Beat" 
Takeshi Kitano. Don't ask) 
is a special little bundle 
of horrible joy. Unlike Dr. 
Jekyll or Atlantis no Nazo, 
Takeshi no Chousenjou 
isn't content to be merely 
bad, difficult, or obtuse. 
This game is spiteful, and 
intentionally so. 



This says nothing of the supreme difficulty involved at every step of the way. 
Passing the karaoke bar scene requires the player to actually sing into the 
Famicom controller's microphone until the game detects a perfect performance. 
It's not uncommon for this to take several hours. At some point afterward, a blank 
screen appears, and the player is told not to interact with the controller in any way 
for another hour, under penalty of complete erasure of progress. On the way to 
the island, you'll enter an extremely hard horizontally scrolling shooter segment, 
in which your ship can move down, but not up. 

Survive this, and you're rewarded with an arduous exploration segment as you 
search for treasure. By this point, your voice is hoarse, you've spent an hour of 
gameplay staring at a blank screen, and your thumbs are bloodied from retrying 
the shooter sequence hundreds of times. In your fatigue, you may have chosen 
the wrong option at the 
password screen, which 
results in instant death. 

Hours later, if you're still 
alive and coherent, you 
may find the legendary 
treasure. At this point, 
Internet legends tell that 
you will face a boss that 
can only be defeated 
if you punch it twenty 



thousand times. This is false; 
the truth is even worse. 

At the end of Takeshi no 
Chousenjou, you will find no 
boss. You'll get no closure. 
Instead, all you'll see is 
a screen that says — in 
Japanese — "Good job." 

I badly want this game to 





I'M 1 !- \\ r . r.- \!\M!vM'. 



JL3E I — 

■ vyv> 



- i - 



_i_ i_i_[_[_E_E_E_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_ i_ i_ i_ i_ i_ L_ i_i_ i_ i_ L l_i_i_L 
^^^^^^^^^^i j « < < < 1 I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I 



be in English. Fan translators of the world, I am 
willing to pay $1 00 for a full English translation 
of Takeshi no Chousenjou. This is not a joke. 
Do this and you will be rewarded. 

You don't understand. I need this. 



H^oreG\|vmW\G£ll\E VQJJVE4 ISSLE2 BWCKWrHAVBVCBNI 




Tl^D^RKSI[^(JREmDG\|vll\G FWURE 6L 
- ^— ► - 



HOR BCOBEGAMER 

Official Hyper Contest Arena 



Visit HardcoreGamer.com to enter the "Invent a mod and 
win a mod" Extreme-Mods.com challenge. 



If you could invent any mod with unlimited resources, what would it 
be? Submit your ideas at HardcoreGamer.com and win sweet mod 
prizes from Extreme-Mods.com for your PC, PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii 




Gamer Craffix Hardcore For Halo Challenge Winners announced. 



We at Hardcore Gamer challenged 
you to show us how hardcore for Halo 
you really are. What you showed us 
was exemplary - every submission we 
received was very impressive in show- 
ing how much Halo really means to 
you. But three submissions were utterly 

outstanding and well deserving of the amazing prizes their submitters 

will be receiving. 

Winners: 

Essay Challenge Grand Prize: 

3 FOOT GAMER GRAFFIX HALO 3 MASTER CHIEF WALL GRAFFIX™ 

4 FOOT GAMER GRAFFIX HALO 3 MASTER CHIEF WALL GRAFFIX™ 

2 18 X 24 INCH HALO 3 MASTER CHIEF WALL GRAFFIX™ 
XBOX 360 (Halo Edition) 

HALO 3 GAME 

THE OFFICIAL NOVELS OF HALO 

RED VS. BLUE - SEASONS 1,2,3,4,5 

HALO GHOSTS OF ONYX - NOVEL 

HALO GRAPHIC NOVEL 

Gamer Graf fix Xbox 360 Skin (Death Card) 

Essay Challenge Grand Prize Winner: Xtra Sugar 

Runner Up Prize: 

HALO GHOSTS OF ONYX- NOVEL 

Gamer Graf fix Xbox 360 Skin (Death Card) 

3 Foot Halo 3 Master Chief WALL GRAFFIX™ 

1 18 x 24 inch Halo 3 Master Chief WALL GRAFFIX™ 

5 Gamer Graffix Handheld console Skins 

Runner Up: J avycucamonga 



Hardcore for Halo Photo - Grand Prize: 

3 FOOT GAMER GRAFFIX HALO 3 MASTER CHIEF WALL GRAFFIX" 

4 FOOT GAMER GRAFFIX HALO 3 MASTER CHIEF WALL GRAFFIX" 
2 18 X 24 INCH HALO 3 MASTER CHIEF WALL GRAFFIX™ 
HALO GRAPHIC NOVEL 

5 Gamer Graffix Xbox 360 Skins 
5 Gamer Graffix Handheld Skins 

Hardcore for Halo Photo - Grand Prize Winner: cpu64 



m 

m 


J^gtgr 


■#i* 


8uf*i Ik 


- 7 t 







Congratulations to everyone who submitted content, and thanks for 
making this contest such a success! 




Support us and our affilliates 
with your patronage. 




YOUR SITE 



fiffilfeSEg^ ■Mili)} 



YOUR SITE 




^ma* *^' 



(BE^Su^ia^^j^ii 



YOUR SITE 



rftfRffiESjSl £] ^j^lnT^KflTitt 






A^iiiA'^TTTiraTT^itJiiMfijIilJirJII 



lard core Gamer Magazine affiliation program today! It's simple! All 
you have to do is host the online version of Hardcore Garner Magazine on your web site and you're 
in. It's that easy! Send an email to affHiales@hardcoregamei\com to sign up today. 




J 




* 



V • 



>1 



m* 



Arcades always 
excel in over-the-top shooting 
action, whether you are shooting 
aliens, machines or dinosaurs 



& Wtoii 



Sega dabbled with dinosaur blasting when they released 
Jurassic Park: Lost World back in 1994 and they have 
decided to bring it back with Primeval Hunt. This comes at 
a time where hunting games are the most popular titles on 
the arcade scene. 

There is no clear storyline to the game; you are simply 
hunting dinosaurs in an exotic location that also happens to 
include human-made ruins over a number of twelve days. 
When you begin, you can pick between three different weapons to carry — a rifle, a shotgun or 
a crossbow and occasionally you can obtain a rocket launcher power-up. Each weapon has its 
own characteristics and amount of ammunition available for it, and once you run out of ammo, the 
game is over unless you insert more coins to continue. The player thus must focus on accuracy and 
strategy instead of non-stop trigger pulling. 

Bonus points are given for head and heart shots, which sometimes must be landed quickly, as 
a delay in taking the dinos down means that they will begin to hunt you. There are a number of 
dinosaurs you'll be hunting, mostly the kinds that we are all familiar with since childhood, including 
brontosaurs, triceratops, stegosauruses, velociraptors, pterodactyls and T-Rexes. It was interesting 
to see how dynamically they behave throughout the game, from grazing in the field, to fighting with 
each other, stealing dinosaur eggs or even scratching their backs on the ground like a dog. 

The graphics, powered by Sega's Lindbergh platform, are fairly good although there are a couple of 
issues with collision detection (not with your shots fortunately but you will end up walking through 
walls on occasion). The environments are quite lush and colorful and the textures through most of the 
game are pleasing to the eye. 

Unlike most other light-gun titles which happen to be on-rail affairs, Sega pulled a page from both the 
Nintendo DS and the Wii in its control scheme. The game uses two light-rifles which include hardware 
for on-screen tracking as well as a speaker built into the butt of the gun. It also uses a touch screen 
controller where the player can plot their movement throughout a level with their finger as well 
as track each dinosaur and their stats. It is an interesting feature but has proven to be 
worrisome for operators concerned with the extra price it adds to the machine, along with 
the potential for damage. If the touch screen does break, however, there is an option to 
play the game without it. There are two cabinet variations of the game out there, although 
currently, the deluxe version is the only one available in the US. 

Primeval Hunt is a likable game that stands out from other arcade light-gun games 
thanks to the control scheme which allows you to explore the area and plan out a 
strategy as opposed to reactionary blasting. 



8* 



* \ i 

W 1 

PL 1 


671 

• 

r \ 

■1 tw 


1 

■■■ - • ' 7 ' 

- is. mi 



LWfiS! 



£ 




-J2JB 







STANDING UP FOR YOURSELF IS STRONG. 

^STANDING UP FOR THOSE AROUND YOU • 

IS ARMY STRONG. ' mmS& - ^^ *^ 



v jfl^FT* 







,> 



S I L 



^v ^w" 



• J^^B^ 






lere's strong. And then there's Army Strong. The strengtn 
not just changing your life but changing the lives of others 

i Find out more Wt gbatmV^com/st^on^ 



Hfi kqi mjij 


y: Hear Me Roar 
of Players: 1-2 



I Score: 




-tL 




FNGFANCF 



■jT I 





U.S.ARMY 



■■-* as* 



■■ 





The Fine Line Between Honor And Vengeance 
will be Crossed by one. 

Hayabusa returns in the only true sequel to Ninja Gaiden. Exclusively on the Xbox 3601 
Four difficulty levels, from Acolyte to Master Ninja. 

xbox.com/ng2 



MATURE 






Blood and Gore 
Intense Violence 
Partial Nudity 
Suggestive Themes 



ESRB CONTENT RATING www.esrb.org 



SrO<. 



flk 


ir* >'iS ("'^^■■■^fc^^B 






f 


Jh 


jitfir — * ' _ ""*, J^ 





TEcmo 



Microsoft 







1 


P'^^-W'AM